Raise/fold from the small blind

by ~ October 4th, 2007. Filed under: Basics of poker, Goals and plans, Philosophy and approach, Poker aggression, Project: bet, raise, or fold, Weaknesses.

* Modified July 17th, 2008 *

More from the raise/fold practice. It’s difficult to play from the SB with this exercise. Unless there is only one limper or no limpers I’m hesitant to raise. Raising is fine if I have a decent hand, otherwise I’m folding a lot.

I know that I have a tendency to complete too often from the SB, often simply because of pot odds. If there are two limpers you almost have to complete with almost any hand simply because you get 1BB+1BB+0.5SB+1BB= 3.5BB pot to 0.5 to complete, or 7-1 odds to call. If you assume the limpers have one of the top 50% except AA/KK/QQ/AK (assuming they at least would know to raise these hands) and the BB has a random hand, even if you are in the SB with 72o, the worst hand in poker, it wins 14% of the time, or 5.7-1 (the random hand of the BB has a 25% chance of winning). This is assuming they get to showdown.

Limper1: TT-22,AQs-A2s,K2s+,Q2s+,J4s+,T6s+,96s+,86s+,76s,65s,AQo-A2o,K5o+,Q7o+,J7o+,T8o+,98o

Limper2: TT-22,AQs-A2s,K2s+,Q2s+,J4s+,T6s+,96s+,86s+,76s,65s,AQo-A2o,K5o+,Q7o+,J7o+,T8o+,98o

BB: Random hand

SB Win against 2 limpers + BB Odds Win against 1 limper + BB Odds
72o 14% 6-1 20% 4-1
54s 23% 3.3-1 29% 2.4-1
22 22% 3.5-1 30% 2.3-1
55 27% 2.7-1 37% 1.7-1
88 34% 1.9-1 46% 1.2-1
JTs 30% 2.3-1 38% 1.6-1
Q9s 28% 2.6-1 37% 1.7-1
K4o 20% 4.0-1 29% 2.4-1

So, you get pretty good odds to complete with almost anything, keeping in mind the fact that on the flop pairing your K is not going to play the same when you pair a 7. Because I throw almost everything away from the SB if someone bets since I’m OOP, I try to stick to hands that can catch something strong like A or K suited or gapped middle connectors.

Even still, I get the impression that I’m saving chips by folding almost all the time from the SB (since I don’t want to raise and can’t call).

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve got limpers, especially from late position, how good of a hand can they have? From either of the blinds it’s not a bad play to raise almost regardless of the cards you hold because the other players have said they want to see a flop but they don’t have a great hand. The problem arises in the low levels that players will limp/call, and continue calling if they catch bottom pair or a gutshot straight.


I’m also having a bit of success making laydowns. I think that I made a few yesterday, but the only one that I can remember was reraising a small raise from the button 4 handed when I was in the SB with AQ. He pushed, I folded, and he showed his TT and I said I had AQ (I’m a 43-57 underdog ignoring flush domiations). He said that if I reraise him I should be ready to go all-in and I told him I might because I’m not allowed to call. It’s the only table so far that I’ve told what I was doing, which I’ve been dying to do to explain my play.

And my play money bankroll is going up, for whatever that’s worth. 🙂


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