CardSharp Mailbag: Even More About Big Hands Out Of Position Preflop

No Limit Texas Holdem, Reader Questions

January 23, 2009

I just got another question about out-of-position play with big hands related to this post here (this article won’t make sense without reading that one):

The one area that still needs addressing on the subject of premium hands in early position is what to do when the blinds are very deep. If a limp, a normal raise and a normal re-raise won’t get ten percent of the effective stacks in, what do you do? Do you make an oversize re-raise? That would seem logical but it is going to lose you some action.

Will in New Haven

In reality, in a typical game that doesn’t have extra callers of the initial raise, even a limp-reraise won’t get in more than about 15BB without seriously overbetting the pot.  So in games well over 150B deep you’re not going to be able to get 10% of the stacks in with your huge hands, or even come close to that number.  So what are you going to do?  I have a few suggestions:

  • The first thing to realize is that there is no easy answer here.  Deepstack NL is a much more difficult game than shallower stack depths, and a large part of the reason why is that there is no effective way to bet enough to deny your opponents odds to draw out on you if you’re subsequently willing to pay off any draw.  You’re just going to have to live with this fact.  There’s a natural sense of entitlement that comes with being dealt aces or kings, but it’s not really that wonderful a situation deepstack and out of position.  Reset your expectations.
  • Pay attention to people who raise too much preflop.   If you’re seeing a lot of button raises after limps, and the guy who’s on the button often goes to 10BB or something (not all that uncommon in deepstack games) then a limp-reraise may make sense even if the stacks are deep.
  • When the stacks get very deep and/or the likely raisers tend to use standard size raises, you’re always going to lead out with a raise with your big hands rather than limp-re-raise.  Your initial raise can be on the big side as long as you do it consistently.  There are two reasons you don’t limp-reraise.  First off, the deeper the remaining money is the less you want to tip your hand.  A limp-re-raise just screams a big hand.  Second, when the money is deep, your opponents are going to re-raise more when you open for a raise.  This means you will get more opportunities to put in the 3rd raise, which will usually be enough to get 10% in.
  • Pot control really doesn’t work out of position - you will simply have to be willing to fold your top pairs and overpairs in certain situations.  But these situations won’t happen overly frequently.  If your opponent is  frequently making three big bets it’s highly unlikely that any given one is a set so you can call such an opponent comfortably.  In other words, you’ll need to run away from certain tight players’ second and third bets but you won’t have to run away from everyone all the time.  And when you catch someone making a big third barrel bet with less than an overpair, you get paid big to make up for the times you folded.
  • Know your opponents’ strategies for pot control.  Do they usually check the turn?  The river?  Underbet the pot?  Ignore pot control all togeather?  The guy who ignores it you can always call down with top pair/overpair type hands unless the board is very ugly.  For the rest, watch for when they deviate from their chosen pot control strategy - that typically means a big hand and time for you to fold.

Hope that helps, because that’s all I’ve got.


This article is part of Project Cash Game No Limit Holdem - You can find more great strategy articles there.
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One Response to “CardSharp Mailbag: Even More About Big Hands Out Of Position Preflop”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Thanks for the article…tips for deepstack games are always appreciated!


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