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When YouӲe Called or Re-Raised This analysis can also help you with your hand reading and decision making when your open raise pre-flop gets called or re-raised. Suppose that with blinds of 100/200, you open raise to 600 from middle position with 98s. The button calls your raise, leaving 2000 chips in his stack.
Alarm bells should be going off. Although he only put 600 chips in the pot, he is really committing 2600, which means his range must be much stronger than what it might be if he had a deeper stack. No competent player is putting in more than 20% of his stack pre-flop without a strong hand, and the fact that the button chose voluntarily to sacrifice fold equity by just calling is also suspicious. I would not continuation bet any flop unless I had reason to think this player was less than competent, and I might even check and fold top pair.
When you get re-raised, you need to consider what kind of odds your opponent is leaving for himself if you four-bet all in. Suppose that you are in the CO and that you have some history with the player on the button. The two of you see each other regularly in online tournaments, and each of you knows that the other is a smart, aggressive tournament player. With blinds of 250/500, you open for 1500 with ATo, and the button re-raises to 4500. This is a tough spot, as the button would usually play AK and big pairs like this, but is also capable of re-stealing in a situation where he knows youӬl be opening a very wide range. AT is probably in the top third of hands that you could have when opening from the CO, but itӳ far from the best. Making a good decision here is going to be tough, so you need to marshal all the information available, and one thing to look at is how many chips your opponent is actually committing. If either you or he has only about 12,000 chips, he is much more likely to have a strong hand than if you both have 16,000 or more. The crucial difference is that if you do move in on him for 12,000, heӬl be pot committed, as heӬl be getting better than 2:1 odds to call 7500 more into a pot of 17,250. When you move in for 16,000, he has room to fold, as a call of 11,500 into a pot of 21,250 lays him worse than 2:1. With the shorter stacks, he is actually risking 12,000 chips to win the 2250 in the pot, whereas with deeper stacks, he is risking only 4500, since he can fold his bluffs if you move in on him.
In the latter situation, his move must succeed much less frequently to show a profit, which means that he can make it with a wider range of hands. Consequently, you should be more inclined to fold your AT when stacks are shorter but to move all in when they are larger.
Conclusion This analysis illustrates the importance of looking at factors such as stack sizes and how the rest of the hand is likely to play out before making pre-flop decisions. It is generally true in Texas Hold ҅m that the decision to play a hand pre-flop is one of the most important youӬl make, but it is even more true in tournament play, where shallow stacks often guarantee that most of the action takes place pre-flop. Practicing better hand selection than your opponents in tough situations can make a big difference to your bottom line, especially deep in a tournament, where even small mistakes can be very costly.