What hands should you be playing and how should you play them when someone has raised the pot?
Most of the time you either decide to fold or to reraise (3-Bet). Normally you base this decision on whether you believe you have a stronger hand in average than your opponent. If you for example believe your opponent is raising with a 10% range you will have a better hand in average if your hand is within a 5% range and you should normally raise. If you have a hand that is better than opponents worse hands, but worse than his average, for example a hand that is at the bottom of 7 % range you should normally fold.
But sometimes it can be more profitable to call or 3-Bet light.
No callers in pot yet
You will rarely be able to call based on implied odds alone, but here is are two scenarios when that can be profitable:
Rule-of-thumb: Calling with pocket pair against one likely opponent based on implied odds:
- call if opponent is a TAG on a very narrow range (max 5 %) and is likely to be willing to stack off with overpair or top-pair and effective stack size is at least 20 times the call amount or
- call if opponent is a maniac and effective stack size is at least 20 times the call amount.
Sometimes the combined implied odds, having a winning hand without hitting a set and the opportunity to win the hand by bluffing can make it profitable to call also.
Rule-of-thumb: Call on the button with pocket pair and suited connectors JTs-56s:
- Opponent is passive, afraid postflop and has at least 20% range and unlikely to fold to a 3-Bet
If not all of this is true it is generally better to fold or to raise.
Some ideas on how to read opponent stats to decide this:
- Passive if Aggression Factor is below 2
- Afraid postflop if WTSD (Went-to-Showdown) is max 23 % over at least 300 hands
- Unlikely to fold to 3-Bet if fold to 3-Bet is less than 70%.
One or several players have called ahead of you
In this case you should make the call based on Implied Odds alone since you will have limited opportunity to win by having a pair or bluffing. Here you will also normally consider 3-Betting first rather than calling. But if a 3-Bet does not seem like a good idea you can consider calling under the following circumstances.
Rule-of-thumb: Calling with pocket pair against several likely opponents based on implied odds:
- call if raiser is TAG on narrow range (max 10 %) and at least one person has called before you and effective stack size between raiser and you is at least 20 times the call amount and risk of squeeze is max 10% or
- call if at least one of the other callers is a fish willing to commit a lot with a weak holding or
- call if at least two persons has called before you and risk of squeeze is max 10 %
Rule-of-thumb: Calling with suited connectors or suited aces against several opponents based on implied odds:
- call if raiser is TAG on narrow range (max 10 %) and at least two persons has called before you and effective stack size between raiser and you is at least 20 times the call amount and risk of squeeze is max 10%