The Changing Nature of Starting
Good players and not so good players too fold most of the time. A big mistake that can be made by a poker player is to call when you should have folded. Many players get involved in pots with weak, unplayable starting hands, even seeing the flop with any ace in hand, regardless of their position in the betting order, with no consideration for the number of players in the pot or the amount of betting and raising that has taken place before it’s their time to act.
Many players will cold-call a raise, voluntarily investing two bets in a hand they should fold. A much stronger hand is needed to call a raise than to do the raising yourself. Calling a raise requires a hand that figures to be better than the one held by the guy doing the raising – so be sure of your position before you risk it.
I’ve held many a hand that I was preparing to raise with, only to have an opponent snatch the rug right from under my feet by raising before the action got around to me. Much of the time, the hand I was considering raising with now becomes not even a calling hand and is folded.
Hands such as AJ, AT, KJ, KT, QJ, JT fall into this category. So do those ace-anything hands you’d raise with from the button or even next to it, if no one had voluntarily entered the pot before it was you turn to act.
When their initiative is taken from under heir noses, many players will become irritated and agitated. Their stubbornness costs them money when they refuse to step away from a good hand, even when all the signs are indicating that the opponents hand is better. You see it all the time, an angry slam down of a hand like AT because another player raised before they could act.
Players who react like this have got it backwards. Instead of big upset, they ought to be thankful. Their opponents raise probably saved them money and they should be relieved – even thankful instead of angry. After all money saved spends If at any time I can get a free pass out of a pot knowing my hand is probably a long shot that wont be offset by the pot odds, i’m happy.
When you are faced with a raise, the hand you’re holding quickly changes categories. Most likely it becomes a folding hand. Sometimes if it’s a big hand you ought to re-raise with it, but seldom is it a calling hand. If I’m in the cut-off seat – the seat to the immediate right of the button – or on the button, and someone raises in front of me, I’m going to throw away many of the hands that I would have raised with, had no one entered the pot before the action reached me.
On the other hand if i’m holding a big pair, I’m going to make it three-bets in hopes of playing heads-u against the initial raiser. When that happens I have a big advantage going into the flop. Not only did I get the last raise in but I’ll have position on my opponent throughout the entire hand.