When a re-raise is made, it should signify a strong statement – even though another player has committed chips to the pot, the re-raise stipulates that more are needed, because whatever hand the first player thinks he has, the re-raiser thinks his hand is better. At least, that’s what a re-raise SHOULD signify.
Obviously, this is a good bluff, or semi-bluff, in the right spot. If this occurs on the flop, and the flop contains “scary” cards (all of one suit or three-in-a-row) so that a re-raise could mean a straight or flush – that could be scary. It’s also a case where there are two like cards (9-9-4) which could give the re-raiser trips.
In any case, it’s a situation where I like to think there are only two possibilities:
- I’m way ahead, as he’s bluffing, or
- I’m way behind.
Of course, the goal is to not tip off when I have what.
Last week I was on the other end of a great re-raise. I was up and down all tournament, and was trying to knock out one of two really good (and aggressive) players at my table. I don’t usually go after the strong players, but the weak players were not very active, I was the chip leader at the table by a good margin, and I saw a couple of opportunities to deliver punishing blows. One player was on the ropes until a river 9 gave him trips, and two hands later he doubled up again through me having pocket aces to my pocket queens. So two re-raises from me in a row, and neither worked. I then set my sights on the other strong player, and tried a couple more re-raises on scary flops, and he conceded two in a row. And then, he re-raised me on a 10-7-5 flop where I had top pair, top kicker, and I pushed all in. He called again…and flipped over pocket Kings. He waited a complete round before he continually re-raised me whenever I made a bet. I tossed two mediocre hands away, and finally pushed holding pocket Tens…and damned if he didn’t have the Kings again.
I lost the ability to gain respect for my re-raises and never got it back. And I should have been more patient and waited until I had a monster hand before challenging him again. But…frustration + lack of patience + moderate cards = rail.
More on this later in the month.