Jun 26 2010

The Purpose of Light Re Raises

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

In the landscape of modern poker games, players have learned to adapt to much more aggressive playing styles. Some poker players naturally understand when and how to properly apply pressure to their opponents. Other players try to practice what they’ve been taught but end up failing miserably. One of the most common misapplied strategies is the light re-raises. Most of the time, a light re-raise is found in a cash game setting, but not always. There are definitely some players who are capable of executing light re-raises in tournaments. The premise and basic approach to light re-raising is almost the same in both environments.


The keyword in light re-raising is of course, light. If you are 3 betting or 4 betting with a good hand, it is for value, and the aim is entirely different than that of a weak hand. Beyond this, some weaker hands are much more ideal for light re-raises than others. A hand like 8 9 suited might seem like it would be good for a light re-raise, but it really isn’t. If you take 8 9 at face value, you are going to find that it has little intrinsic value. When played in position against a raise, however, 8 9’s value begins to skyrocket. If a player opens and you call with 8 9, there is a good chance for a big pot to develop and for 8 9 to be on the winning end. This is why calling a raise with 8 9 is usually better than re raising.

In contrast to 8 9 suited, a hand like K 4 suited would be great for 3 betting. Both at the surface and intrinsically, K 4 has little value. If it is unimproved, it is seldom going to be good at showdown, and the improvements that it can make are far and few between. So why, then, is it a good hand for light re-raising? First, the hand is defined as light. It is clearly not a threat in and of itself, and it’s biggest weapon is aggression. There isn’t going to often be confusion when the flop, turn, and river are dealt. K 4 is either going to be a monster, or nothing at all. So, when we re raise with K 4, it is very easy to let go of our hand when our opponent puts in another re-raise. Aside from this, we can safely give up when our opponent continues on a flop and we miss. If we flop a 4, it’s easy to fold, whereas flopping middle pair with AJ would be tougher to fold.

The reason K 4 is a good hand to 3 bet, and something like J 2 isn’t, is quite minimal. If we flop 44x, we have strong trips, and are unlikely to be beaten. J 2 could flop trips, but it would be slightly weaker. This isn’t the only reason, though. A hand like Ks 4s can make big hands, but it is super deceptive. If we make a light re-raise with K 4, get called by A K, and the flop comes K4x, we can easily win a stack. J 2, on the other hand, is not usually going to win a stack on a flop of J2x, if only because jacks are much easier to fold for our opponent than kings. Try to experiment, see what works and what doesn’t, but remember that moderation is key with all light re raises.

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