Stop Calling Bets and Start Raising
Fixed limit tables are full of players who refuse to raise after the flop. A player that calls the majority of the time is a sign of weakness. Of course, there will be times where it’s the right decision to limp into a pot, but they are rare.
When you find yourself with a strong hand you need to raise; it will be easy for other players to spot when you hit your hand. There are times when raising is not advised. For example, you won’t raise pocket 10s when two other opponents have raised you pre-flop or raise a drawing hand with five other players still in the hand.
Why You Shouldn’t Call
Calling is a sign of weakness, and a skilled player will see this. If you don’t have a hand that is good enough to raise you most likely shouldn’t be playing it anyways. A call could cause an opponent to call your bet in the next round of betting.
Here is an example. You have pocket Jacks, and you only call pre-flop. The turn comes 7h 4d 10s, your opponent than checks and you bet. Your opponent calls holding AQ and then the turn comes a Q. Now you are behind. Now, with the same hand you raise pre-flop, your opponent checks the flop, and you bet they fold.
By raising your hand, you show that you are serious about winning the hand and opponents will not get any free or cheap rides. You almost always want to bet after the flop if you raised pre-flop, you need to put pressure on your opponents. They may fold or even raise given information that may help you lay down without losing more chips than you otherwise would.
Why You Should Raise
There are many advantages to raising, let’s look at a few of them. Eliminating drawing hands, this is even more important when you are holding premium hands like AK AQ. You need to eliminate players holding middle suited connectors as they have the best chance of beating you. You should be more scared of 7 8 suited than AJ when holding a hand like AK. By raising you can often get these hands to fold while at the same time keep premium hands that you dominate like AJ still in the hand.
Players often underestimate the power of the raise in gathering information; this is most true in limit poker where bets go up on the turn and river. It is better to get re-raised and fold a hand when you are betting $4, rather than on the turn when you are betting $8.
Following up on limit poker and the betting structure, you can often use a raise on the flop to buy the river card. If opponent bets and you raise on the flop, often they will check the turn; this should be used when you have a strong drawing hand.
When you do have a winning hand you want to win money. By raising you can add money to the pot. You should always bet or raise when you are holding the nuts.
Be in Charge
Raising is about being in charge when you have an advantage over your opponents. In conclusion remember that calling shows weakness and raising control the hand.
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