The Secret of Adjusting to Re-Raises

I put in a marathon session today of 4,000 hands, in that session I was at 2-tables with a fairly good player who was probably running good and re-raising me with a pretty wide range. This gave me the idea for this post and how you can shift your thinking and learn how to play re-raised pots better.

I know it is frustrating to constantly get re-raised, but you have a few options:

  • Leave the table (which is always easy online)
  • Assess the situation and determine if this guy is bad and exploitable

For most players leaving the table is easiest and best, although it might bruise your ego, it will save you lots of chips in the long run. If you decide to stay, how do you handle a situation like this?

1. Step Back and Assess

The most common response to getting re-raised in poker is to get pissed at your opponent and over-adjust. When you do this you’re playing into his strategy. You have to carefully assess what his range might be and I determine this by the frequency of his re-raises.

If he is doing it too often (you will get a feel for this the more you play) you can start adding more hands to your pre-flop calling range. Let us say your normal range for calling re-raises pre-flop is Aces, Kings and Ace King for simplicity, and this guy re-raises you three times and you fold because you don’t have a hand enough to call.

And he keeps doing it in a short amount of time (i.e. high frequency), now you start suspecting he is doing it with less than premium hands, so you can start to think about what hands to add, maybe you’ll want to add Queens, Jacks and Ace Queen suited to your range. That is how you adapt properly, avoid calling away your money with hands like 9 8 which are dominated by his range.

2. Plan

Once you have PROPERLY observed that your opponent is getting a bit out of line with his re-raises it is time to plan. Like I said above, you can add some hands into your calling range. But you also have to determine how you are going to play them on different flops, and you have to think about how your opponent is playing when he misses and when he hits in re-raised pots.

The players who re-raise and continuation bet close to a 100% are easy to play against, you are getting a nice overlay because every time you call you know they will bet the flop and when you hit a favorable flop you can just go all-in (with 100BB stacks).

Say for example, you’ve decided that you are going to call with A Q if your opponent re-raises. You open in middle position and as expected you get re-raised by your friend on the button, you now decide to call.

The flop comes T 9 4, you check, your friend bets as we planned and you now check-raise all-in and if your adjustment was correct he will often fold here and even if he calls you usually have a ton of outs.

3. Execute

It is crucial to plan your hands in no-limit Texas Hold’em like we did with our A Q hand. When you observe your opponents tendencies and adjust properly it will be hard to make a mistake.

Once you’ve got your plan together you now have the last portion left in your puzzle and that is execution. This part should be easy once you’ve thought about how your opponent plays and planned how you will proceed, now all you have to do is wait for the right moment and do it.

Disclaimer: This article might be confusing to new players and might lead to money burning. If you are unsure of what I have just talked about leave a comment and tell me what exactly you’d want a better explanation on.

Big pots create big opportunities for profit and loss, that’s why you want to play the big pots better than your opposition. Keep your head cool and your rational thinking intact and you should be fine, start being emotion and you will end up losing those chips.

Summary

  • Take a deep breath and remain calm
  • Should you leave or should you stay?
  • Observe your opponents tendencies
  • Plan how to adjust (keep your ego out)
  • Execute

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