Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wow, A Useful Full Tilt Strat E-Mail

Yes, like every other online player who's ever played at Full Tilt, I too get the bi-weekly strategy mailings that are really just Full Tilt ads and begs for more business. I did, though, like the one I received today, from Aaron "gambleAB" Bartley. It starts off like this:

The Dreaded Min-Check-Raise
Aaron Bartley
June 5th, 2008

There are a lot of potentially horrendous moves to be made in No-Limit Hold ‘em: playing out of position with a marginal hand, chasing down a draw without the correct odds, overplaying (or underplaying) the nuts. All of these are horrible, horrible plays. But in my opinion, the worst play that you can make (and I see made far too often) is the min-check-raise.

I’ve never seen this play used correctly. In fact, I don’t think it’s even possible to use it correctly. If you min-check-raise a hand it means one of two things: either you have an incredibly strong hand and don’t want to scare off your opponents, or you have a draw but absolutely no idea of how to play it...

Say no more! At least to the others. Dammit, but there goes one of the most basic and obvious edges I have over people at the stakes that I play. Bartley's piece is all good, and I couldn't agree with him more. Even I know that there is almost never a spot when the preflop min-reraise could possibly be a good play. 95% of the time I see it, it's done by someone with a monster... even if by that player's definition of a monster, it might be A-K. But thank you for the re-raise, kind sir,and I mean that sincerely! Unless we are already down to single-digit M's, the min-reraiser has not only automatically given me the right implied odds to call with something that might well crack his [likely] big pocket pair, he's made my likely payoff twice as large as well. I can get away from the hand in this spot, but if I flop my set or big draw, can the min-reraiser get away from his?

A few good players, and I'm thinking of a few of the better player/bloggers as I write this, will sneak in an occasional min-reraise with something like 9-8 suited or pocket sixes as a way of setting up a take-it-down move after the flop. The problem is that even then, it's most often attempted in a spot where the relative chip stacks make it a sub-optimal play, though I admit I've done it on very rare occasions myself. But usually, when the min-reraise appears, it's just some marginal player advertising his monster... and thus devaluing it.


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