Are you aggressive yet? We’re not just talking about growling and flexing your arms — that’s for the gym, not the poker table! However if you’re really going to do great things in poker, you still have to look at the game from every angle possible. Getting good at poker is something that takes some time, but when you want to get better at playing the game seriously, you have to invest the time. You have to make sure that there’s really nothing stopping you from getting the jump on other players, and part of that strategy path means that you will have to learn how to respond to raises.
Ah, raises — it’s the poker version of walking up to someone with flexing your muscles as hard as you can. It’s an intimidation move no matter how you look at it. Bluffers want to raise when they feel that they can scare you right out of a pot, and people with monster hands want to give you the impression that they don’t really have anything good. This way, you’ll keep putting chips into the pot, which means that you’re going to end up either winning at random (unless you yourself have a monster hand, then it’s the battle of the monsters — look out, Tokyo!), or you’re going to lose horribly.
Sometimes it’s going to be worth it to re-raise, and other times it’s going to take a firm hand to say enough is enough and back out of the hand — with most of your chips intact. Far too often new players think that they have to stay in no matter what, and this causes them to lose chips. They think that if they don’t raise, the entire table is going to think that they’re wimps and that’s just not the case at all. It takes a very strong poker player to realize that they can’t just jump into every pot and ride it to the end. That would mean losing chips a lot more often, and who wants to lose chips that much?
So how do we know what to do? Here’s what you need to know.
Most people are most concerned with how to deal with raises that come pre-flop. After all, when someone raises before the flop even comes down, that must mean that they have a killer hand, right? Not so fast.
First, you should really make sure that you are looking at your hand. If you have a nice high pocket pair, it’s good to stay in. If you have connective cards like 8-7, you might want to stay in as well — especially if they’re suited. You don’t want to just finch and freak out because someone raised. That’s what they want you to do. They want to make you stop thinking, and that’s really the beginning of the end with poker. Once you stop thinking and start running on emotion, your opponents will take all of your chips. Oh, it might not be this game, but there will come a game where you lose everything simply because you weren’t willing to really pay attention.
The other people might just be raising to see what you’ll do. Everyone knows that a player’s reactions from the basic nature that they’ll take on for the rest of the game. If you always fall back when someone raises, they’re going to use that pattern to bluff you.
There are going to be times where you need to approach the situation head-on. If it’s a matter of raising before the flop, you will want to go ahead and rise to the occasion. There are even times where you will want to actually re-raise them — like when you have a good hand. Even when you don’t have a good hand it can be smart to re-raise just to throw them off. It’s also a matter of looking at your chip stack compared to someone else’s chip stack.
No matter what happens on the board, you will always want to make sure that you treat your fellow poker players with respect and dignity. It’s just a game — review it later and spot your mistakes, then correct course. Getting angry only sets you up for a bad cycle of poker, and really — in this day and age, who truly wants to deal with that? The time is now to refine your poker game, but the only way to really do that is to get started playing online poker today!