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Seldom Re-raise As The Big Blind In Hold'em

First, you need to know that I frequently re-raise as the big blind when an aggressive, blind-stealing-type opponent raises in the small blind after everyone else folds. I don't need a very strong hand to justify that re-raise, because Doyles Room - All USA Players Welcome even if I'm beat by a mediocre hand, the re-raise gives me psychological leverage to add to my positional advantage. Remember, I'll get to act last on all betting rounds.

But in all other circumstances, while you should vary your play, and you can certainly sometimes justify re-raising when you're in the big blind position, usually you'll make more money by waiting to see the flop. Among the many reasons for this, these important ones come to mind:

  1.     If the small blind isn't involved in the pot, you will have the disadvantage of acting first on all future betting rounds.


With all but aces and, perhaps, kings, the strength of your hand is not usually defined until after you see the flop. You really don't know if it is strong or weak. Unlike stud games where your strength often changes slowly, one card at a time, the three-card flop strongly defines your hand in hold 'em. Although your cards may be strong enough for you to believe that you have a likelihood of having the best hand, that edge is usually not enough to justify a re-raise and risk facing yet another raise from a rare hand that might truly dominate you. This is especially true because of your poor position.

Why announce that you have a fairly strong hand if you don't have to? The very tiny edge of pushing a hand you think might be slightly better than your opponents' hands is often overwhelmed by the fact that you are giving away information unnecessarily. Of course, this show of strength can sometimes work in your favor (and you CAN use it deceptively with weak hands), but it is more likely to work against you by chasing away weak callers and the long-range profit they might supply on future betting rounds. If you just call, opponents will think you might have anything, from very weak hands to moderately strong ones or better. You keep your options open on future betting rounds, and you can fold more easily, having invested less, if the flop disappoints you.

For these reasons and others, I recommend usually not re-raising in the big blind with moderately strong hands, except when isolated with only the small blind.

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