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Daniel Negreanu on Poker: Playing Against a Reraise in Small Ball Poker




If you’re playing small ball poker, you’ll be entering a lot of pots, and in most of them, you’ll be coming in for a 2 ½ times the big blind raise.

Now, there will be situations where you’ll get reraised, either by a premium hand or by another player who just gets fed up with the fact that you won’t stop raising his blind.

As a general rule, when you get reraised, it’s best to dump your hand right there. But there are times when it is entirely appropriate to stick around to see the flop.

You must consider the strength of your own hand. Obviously, if you have a premium hand like pocket aces or kings, not only would you want to play against a reraise, you’ll usually want to reraise before the flop.

It also makes sense to stick around in the face of a minimum reraise.

Suppose the blinds are 100/200, you make it 500 to go, and an opponent reraises to 800. There is simply no circumstance where it would be correct to fold in this situation – even if you were certain that your opponent had pocket aces! Call the minimum reraise and try to outflop him.

Some players refer to the minimum raise as the nuisance raise. The truth is it accomplishes very little except to add a little more money to the pot. It’s extremely rare to see the initial raiser fold for the minimum reraise before the flop.

You can also stick around to see the flop if you have position.

Position is power. So, if the reraiser has position on you, use discretion when deciding to call his reraise unless you have a very strong hand. However, if the player who reraised is out of position, your marginal hand can suddenly become worthy of a call.

Let’s say you are on a semi-steal with 8h-10h. With the blinds at 100/200, you raise to 500. If the big blind raises another 1,000, there’s a decent opportunity to see the flop because you have position. Reverse the positions, however, and it’s difficult to justify calling his raise.

Aside from hand strength, stack size is the most important factor to consider when deciding to play against a reraise. Remember that a bust’em hand like 7h-8h plays much better against a reraise in deep-stack poker than it does when stacks are smaller.

Okay, say it’s early in a tournament. You raise to 150 on the button with 7h-8h, leaving you with 9,850 in chips. The small blind then reraises to a total of 500.

Not only do you have position, you also have the type of hand that could hit a home run if you get lucky on the flop. Go ahead and call with this hand, hoping to win the pot by hitting the flop or bluffing your opponent by using board cards that may scare him away.

Generally speaking, though, you don’t want to jeopardize more the ten percent of your chipstack on a hand like middle suited connectors or middle pairs.

Let’s recap: In small ball poker, you must get involved in a lot of pots. And in many of those pots, you’ll get reraised. Make sure to maintain your composure when that happens. Don’t get away from your strategy by making sloppy calls.

If you have trouble laying down hands like Q-J, K-10 or K-Q in response to a pre-flop reraise, it just might be time to get up from the table and take a walk! These hands perform horribly against a reraise before the flop. Avoid them like the plague.

Visit shop.cardsharkmedia.com for more information about Daniel Negreanu’s newest book, Power Hold’em Strategy, from Cardoza Publishing.

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