Poker strategy: When to raise, when to call

Poker is a really exciting card game. Everyone can play, as the rules are easy, but it’s difficult to master. There are various strategies you can follow in order to win and don’t lean on pure luck.

You don’t need to be a master of mathematics or a strategy expert if you’d like to live the poker experience. You just need to follow some useful tips and always have in mind how the various can affect your game. In order to actually learn poker strategy and make this game profitable you need to distinguish what you should be learning.

There’s much complexity of a decision in a single poker hand, which is reflected in the multitude of factors to be considered. You should have in mind the number of opponents, your position at the table, the opponents’ playing styles and their perception of the player’s own playing style, their previous actions, the pot size, the stack size and some other circumstances like the stage of the tournament.

Raising and calling are two of the most important poker decisions a player has to make. 

Raising: Put pressure on other players

Below you can find the four main reasons why to raise:

  1. Increase the amount of money you claim, when you feel you have the best hand. You could win a far bigger pot.
  2. Get a free card. If you raise with a drawing hand, opponent may call the bet and check to them on the next betting round. You’ve got a change to get a free card and may improve your hand.
  3. Just bluff. If you have an inferior hand, you try to deceive other players about the strength of their hand and may induce a fold of a better hand.
  4. Analyze other players’ strategy. It’s really worthy to raise with an uncertain hand to get more information about the strength of your opponent’s hand if you’re called.

Calling: Detect the intentions 

Here are the four most important reasons to call:

  1. Seeing more cards. You can receive the correct pot odds with a call in order to do that.
  2. Avoid re-raising: If you call and not raise you actually block the original bettors option of raising again. Have in mind that it is completely safe only if you’re the last to act.
  3. Prepare a bluff on a later round. For example, when you have a strong initial hand you may call instead of raise to see the flop cheaply. This move may not favor you in short term, but other players may try to bluff. If you raise, you inform other player that you have a strong hand.
  4. Limiting the loss. Especially when you have adequate pot odds to call but will lose equity or additional money contributed to the pot with a raise.
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