Online Poker Strategy – When to Raise or Call

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Knowing when to raise or call is fundamental to playing with a successful poker strategy. And while you can never be guaranteed of making the right decision every time, you can increase the frequency by heeding the advice in this special online poker guide.

Understanding Position

Position is a term used to describe your playing position in relation to the dealer. And the reason for knowing your position is that you will understand when you are in a place of strength or weakness. For clarity, the example below is for a table of 10 players:

  • Early position – The three players after the small and big blinds
  • Middle position – Players four and five after blinds
  • Late position – Sixth, seventh, and eighth players before blinds

Fundamentally, you are in a weaker position if you are in the early spots, and this is because you raise or call ahead of your opponents. Comparatively, they are at their strongest in the late positions as they are making more informed choices. Ideally, you need to use later positions to your advantage.

Raising Your Opponents

In the latter positions, there are two ways in which to make your advantage count, including pre-flop and post-flop. Get the lowdown on each instance below.

Pre-flop

From late position, you can first steal blinds before the flop cards are drawn. If everybody calls then you can try to exert strength if you have a strong set of pocket cards, such as a pair ranging from jack to ace.

Post-flop

Keep a close eye on players’ betting decisions because you might spot weaknesses in the form of calls and low raises. By raising players to two thirds of their stack, you can stand a better chance of winning the pot without letting them pay to see the last two cards. It’s wiser to be certain of winning less than to let them fluke a run or flush on the turn or river.

Calling Your Opponents

There are times when aggression is not going to pay. Defy the logic and you will be at risk of watching your once tall stack of chips being eroded in a matter of hands. Just below is advice on when to call.

Under the Gun

Being under the gun is when you are positioned immediately after the big blind player. In this position, some professional players will fold on 90% of hands. They believe that the position is so weak that even good hands can struggle to win.

In your case, however, you are likely to be playing with players who are not so experienced. As a result, you should instead consider calling if you have a good, which would be a pair or else a high combination, such as A-J. Forget about calling if you have a low kicker or chasing a straight or flush.

To round things up, you should improve your decision-making on raising and calling to ensure that you maximise the profitability of your position. Basically, late position is when to be aggressive, while early position is when to be cautious.

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