Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The lead-out/re-raise is the new check/raise

Royal will attest that back in the "good ol' days" a couple years ago when we played Sunday Night Poker, check/raising and slow playing were well and good. This was because you had some characters like Krazy Karl who you could count on to be hyper-aggressive once he hits his hand or a calling station like Chris who will call an all-in with A7os on a paired board (non-Ace pair btw). Well those days are gone and we're playing with a different crowd now.

So what is better than a check/raise? The lead-out/re-raise! For example. Timid Timmy Transparent opens the betting with an overbet of 14. You can put him squarely on a big pair. He is not going to raise up with a 46 or junky hand like that, he is straightforward and you can gauge his hand strength by his bet. You call with Snowmans and it is heads up going into the flop. Flop comes out a glorious 258 rainbow. You are out of position so what do you do? His and your 14 and some blinds make the pot about 30. If you check/raise, your opponent will probably bet out the pot or so and if you raise then you will take down 60 chips since Timmy is timid and knows that check/raising means strength. However, if you lead out for 30 instead and making it look like you have A8 or 89, something like that, then in order for Timmy to show that he has an overpair and how strong his hand is, he will need to commit AT LEAST 60 to the pot and probably more like a raise to between 75-90. Now if you re-raise him you have made two or three times as much on the flop alone. Timmy's raise may even be enough to pot commit him depending on his stack. An example of this was when Jeh flopped the nut straight against Matt's overpair. With the pot as big as it was pre-flop, leading out even a half-pot sized bet by Jeh would have forced Matt to throw in a huge re-raise to put Jeh in his place. Then at that point I think the money gets in. A lot of cards can kill the action on the turn (like an Ace to a pair of Kings) and you want to let the person with the powerful hand hammer the pot while they are behind.

Another variation on this is what I call a "seed bet", an underbet to the pot that is looking for a re-raise. Let's say you put your opponent on a strong Ace and the flop comes out Ace high but gives you two pair. This is an occasion where being out of position is actually helpful because you can throw in a seed bet knowing that you are going to get popped which opens the door for you to get more money in while you are ahead. If you lead out too strong, your opponent may just flat call and you are stuck sweating out the turn card which may counterfeit your two pair or put a scare card on the board which slows you down. One example of this is against Jay in the lunch game. I flop trip Tens on a KTT flop. Jay has AK and position on me. I give him credit for the King based on pre-flop action. So I lead out feeling quite sure that I'm going to get popped. With the short stack nature of the lunch game, I feel that I can get him committed. Sure enough, Jay puts in a "let's clarify where we stand" raise. I push and for not that much more Jay calls off the rest of his stack on a two outer (which he hit but we are not ROT here). Now if I had check/raised there, Jay has much less invested, can reasonably fear that I have a Ten of some sort, and can get away from the hand.

So bottom line is, if you know your opponent feels they are strong and ahead, a lead-out/re-raise will get more money into the pot faster and will be more likely to get an opponent pot committed than a check/raise which can scare off customers.


Ryan said...

Martin, I've given you a hell of a rough time in my posts so far, but allow me to be the first to say, excellent post.

jtrey333 said...

Wait... this isn't weak/tight. Who was the poster again?

Damn good advice, and a very good post, required reading for weak/tight players. Bueller?

Austin said...

Indeed, as Ryan says, this post was excellent. I have a feeling I'll be using this at some point in the near future.

Ryan said...

"Wait... this isn't weak/tight. Who was the poster again?"

It's amazing how well Martin can play a hand when he is absolutely certain he's ahead after the flop...

Marshall said...

Wow Martin finally read the first chapter of NL Hold'em 101!

While I am thoroughly astonished that it took this long for this concept to sink in, I am certainly thankful for the excellent post.

A few random comments also:

This has been a pretty standard play for quite a while, check raising/slow playing have always been less than optimal.

One thing to remember is that this situation doesn't come up all that often. You must have a big hand against an even bigger hand.

Also, you have to be out of position to be able to do this, not a spot you want to put yourself in often.

This is just as effective from in position when someone tries to check/raise YOU. They check, you bet your strong hand, they get tricky and raise you,and now you can ship.

You had better be pretty sure you are ahead here also, cause this type of move is a recipe for getting all the chips in ASAP. A great thing if you are ahead, but reckless if your read is bad.

Awesome post GMart, seriously.

jsola said...

Great post! There's also the classic 'stack-a-donk' line. Lead out on the flop, get called or raised and slow down, then check-raise all-in on the turn.

Steven said...

Nicely put. One thing I'd add -- make sure you're playing the hand consistently. If you re-raised from early position pre-flop and don't bet out on a 259 rainbow flop, people are going to get awfully suspicious awfully fast. Mix it up, sure; if you were the preflop raiser with 34s (I know, I know, play along), check 'suspiciously' and be thrilled when everyone checks behind because they're afraid of getting CR'd. But yeah, if you think you're ahead, bet and then bet some more!