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If it’s not good enough to raise, it’s not good enough to play

October 9, 2007

Further thoughts from the still-ongoing bet/fold experiment.

A friend of mine was given the advice, “if it’s good enough to play, it’s good enough to raise”. Good advice for a lot of players, especially anyone who limps preflop with almost all of their hands. (FYI, I think it has been suggested that your preflop raise percentage should be 75% of your VP$IP, so if your VI$IP is 25% your PFR% should be 19%, see the Useful Links on the sidebar if you don’t know the abbreviations).

It’s fun to look at my stats during these experiments and see VP$IP of 18% and PRF of 17% (I do forget once in a while, plus I need to call preflop shoves when appropriate) even fairly late in the tourney.

But I think the reverse is more useful for me; if it’s not good enough to raise or re-raise, it’s not good enough to play. The exceptions would be pairs or suited connectors with good pot odds or implied odds, but otherwise I think I can cut down on the limped/cold called hands that I play by taking this into consideration before calling. In a way this is another interpretation of Sklansky’s Gap Concept. It also reflects Phil Gordon’s approach where he asks himself, bet/raise, fold, or call, in that order so if he decides he cannot bet/raise, and cannot fold, then as a last choice he will call.

And there are other considerations. Calling a raise from a loose player when in position may be +EV if you’ve got the balls to take it away from them on the flop or turn by coming over the top. Calling a weak post flop player if you’re going to get them isolated is +EV, although these players often call raises as well so you’d be better off raising to make sure they are isolated.

Basically, I’m finding all sorts of ways to avoid calling as a result of this experiment, and I’ve taken some of my learning to my regular games. The play money bankroll is still on a slight increase, and my other project has hit a new high; my bankroll is up over the original freeroll win amount for the first time since just after I started.

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