Mar 18 2010

Identifying Re-Steals Pre Flop

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Cash games are much more aggressive today than they ever have been before. Players are looking to steal pots whenever they identify an opportunity. Some poker players will give into these re steals and are burning their money, but other players have learned to fight back. The ability to make solid reads and make aggressive plays separates the winners and loses. If you let players steal pot after pot, you will be sacrificing all kinds of money.

It can certainly be a challenge to determine when someone is stealing vs. making a raise with a legitimate hand, and this is what scares some players off. You will not make the correct read 100% of the time, but this shouldn’t even be your goal. Your goal needs to be realistic. If you are correct just 51% of the time, you will see the profits rolling in. It has been said that pre flop play is relatively easy to master, but the games are now tougher and new dynamics leave room for constant improvement.

No-Limit Hold’em, $1.00 BB (9 handed) @ Party Poker

Hero (SB) ($100)

BB ($149.05)

UTG ($100)

UTG+1 ($100)

MP1 ($79.50)

MP2 ($101.50)

MP3 ($213.50)

CO ($100)

Button ($102.50)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 7c, 8c

6 folds, Button bets $3, Hero calls $2.50, BB raises to $12, 1 fold, Hero raises to $24, BB calls $12

Pre flop we are dealt a strong suited connector. We are in the small blind and have to decide whether it is worth playing our hand out of position. An argument can be made for folding in this spot, but it should be somewhat easy to take down the pot even when we miss the flop. This is why it is acceptable to call the raise of the button. The button is often stealing, but that can be taken care of with some post flop play.

The play becomes interesting when the big blind makes a re raise after the open raise and a call. We can fold if the button calls this re raise, but the button elects to fold. We are now left to decide whether we should raise or fold, calling would be a terrible option. This is a tailor made spot for a re steal. A re raise here isn’t always a re steal, but it is a re steal frequently enough that we can fight back with another raise. Our raise is on the small side, but this was a typing error. A raise to $26 would be sufficient. The big blind decides to call. Now, it may be obvious to our opponent that we are trying to steal back the pot, but this isn’t a major worry.

Flop: ($51) Ad, 10h, 8h (2 players)

Hero checks, BB checks

We actually hit the flop very hard, all things considered. Our hand is the best a very large percentage of the time as the big blind does not often have an ace. We check to raise a bet from the big blind, but the bet never comes. If we brick the flop we would generally need to make a bet.

Turn: ($51) 4s (2 players)

Hero bets $20, BB raises to $125.05 (All-In), Hero calls $56 (All-In)

The turn is a relatively harmless 4s. Our goal now is to look very weak so that our opponent can make a play. We have to snap call a raise as we want to bait our opponent into a bad bluff when we make this bet. Our opponent obliges and our read was absolutely perfect.

River: ($203) 8d (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $203 | Rake: $3


Hero had 7c, 8c (three of a kind, eights).

BB had 4d, 3d (two pair, eights and fours).

Outcome: Hero won $200

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