Is There Proper Use of the Min Raise in Poker

Yes, you read correctly… It seems that I’ve implied that there is a proper use of the min-raise in poker, despite all my min-raise bashing. If I come through, we’re going to discuss this. But first, a CheckRayz reminder or two:

1. The Promotional CelebPoker $500 freeroll poker tournament is tonight. Registration is open. 50 raked hands at .50/1 or higher between June 1 and now is how one earns their entry. Of course, this also assumes you've downloaded through me. Hope to see everyone there.

2. I think we're going to begin running private "seat added" qualifiers to the $100K Guaranteed Sunday Shootouts at River Belle Poker in the very near future. Stay tuned to the Poker Pub for details.

3. Also in the coming soon department is the "BeerGuy's Poker Room of the Month" promotion, which is in the works. Again, stay tuned to the Poker Pub for more information.

"And now it's time for our featured presentation..." (voice in the background chimes in over and over again...: please keep small children quiet and turn your cell phone's off... please keep small children quiet and turn your cell phone's off... please keep small children quiet and turn your cell phone's off... ).

When raising, we need to consider several things when sizing our raise… and yes, the size of one’s raise is of extreme importance. (When we're discussing min raises or raising in general for the purposes of this article, we're specifically referring to preflop raising, unless otherwise specified). Some of the things to consider when sizing a raise is the nature of the players at your table (are they gonna stomp all over a min raise, do I need to raise to define my hand in order to get two to three handed, are they going to view a min raise as an actual raise or just look at it as a kill pot), the size of your opposition’s stacks relative to yours (are they deep, shallow, a mixture), your table image (am I a monster or a donk, am I tricky or transparent, have I been raising, have I shown down recently), and what kind of hand you’re holding are a few of the many things to consider when sizing out a raise.

Additionally, as a rule of thumb, we typically want to raise to either define our hands, or to build a pot. We are not doing well to both build a pot and define our hands, or more specifically, alerting our opposition we have a hand and also giving them correct odds to play along when we can in fact be outdrawn. It becomes a huge, catastrophic mistake to tell an opponent what we have, and then set the price so that it is correct for them to come kick our asses.

So if we have to take all of that into consideration, when is it appropriate to put in a min raise? Well, the only reason I can come up with to condone the min raise is when you’re simply wanting to play this one hand as if the blinds have gone up one level. Most players will correctly treat the min raise as a limp. So, if blinds are 50/100, you’re simply wishing to play that hand as if it were 100/200. This really does little to drive players out of the hand. A player with aces will still consider re-raising. A tricky player in position may even re-raise with nothing, knowing you’ve invested very little and could get away from your hand with great ease. This is essentially nothing more than an over-pronounced slow play. As we well know, slow plays are rarely correct, especially when there’s a chance of being beat by a draw or redraw.

Bottom line: min-raising, just like slow playing is a tricky concept to correctly master and is rarely “correct.” You’re suggesting you may have a hand and giving players the correct odds to crack it. Min raises may sometimes be ok, but do you know when that is?