How Much Should You Raise?

So now that you know which hands you should play from where, how much should you raise with them? This is going to be one of the first instances where my recommended strategy will be dependent upon on which limit you are playing. So I will discuss them separately.


At NL2 I would raise 4x the big blind or 8 cents as your standard open. However, you should make it 3x or 6 cents in LP. There are several reasons for this. And these reasons are universal (i.e., they don’t just apply to NL2)

  •   We have a lot of junky speculative hands in our range so we don’t want to risk very much
  •   We have position so we don’t mind encouraging action
  •   We want to be able to get away (or sometimes call) for a cheaper amount when we get 3bet.
  •   We don’t need to risk much. People fold to steals a lot regardless of the raise size.

With premium hands at NL2 however you should ignore all of the above. Firstly, what is a premium hand? Like before with the starting positions, I am just going to go by my idea of what a premium hand is. Other people may have different ideas. Premium hands for me are AK and TT+.

With these hands at NL2 I recommend that you make a larger than normal sized raise from all positions. And I sort of stagger it depending on the strength of the hand. So with TT and JJ I might make it 5x or 10c. With QQ and AK I will make it 6x. And with AA and KK I will usually make it 8x or sometimes more.
Why do I do this?
As I mentioned before, every situation in poker is different and that is why there is no single best way to play a hand. It always depends on a myriad of different factors like stack sizes, the opponent’s skill level, game flow and so on. But in general we need to ask ourselves this question when playing our monster hands at any level.
“What is the maximum amount that I can charge here, while still maintaining a high amount of sales (calls)?”
Having flashbacks to University economics? Fell asleep during it? Don’t worry I did too! But there were some important lessons to be learned that apply here in poker.

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