Three Four Raise

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The 3/4 Raise
I have a little tactic that i call my 3/4 raise. I usually go into this when i’m shorthanded (maximum 6 at the table) and my cards are running a little cold. It’s always best to try and use this from a decent position and with no bets before it’s your turn to act, but that shouldn’t rule out the play completely.

You’re simply never going to be a regular tournament winner unless you learn how to play a cold deck late on in a game. The blinds are now high and the last thing you want to do is be a calling station or watch your chips get blinded out by the more aggressive players. Basically you are looking to take pots down pre-flop or at least end up in a hand that could really pay off with a low flop. Small suited connectors are perfect for this but i would even look at hands like 6 7 off suit or even a 3 5 can prove interesting if push comes to shove.

Again, i should stress that what you are looking for is just to steal your percentage of blinds until the real hands come in, and for the process to work, you will have need to have a relatively tight/aggressive image at your particular table so that your opponents will believe that you are playing a real hand when you raise.

It’s no good making small raises either. You need to be looking at minimum x3 the big blind to keep things legitimate and arouse as little suspicion as possible, especially when playing poker online. It’s also important not to raise into the same player all the time as you are likely to get called or re-raised sooner rather than later. I often find that making raises into the big stacks works really well as this gives an even better impression of a strong hand, although you need to be ready to fold if you run into trouble. Target the rocks, rather than the loose aggressive players that are more prepared to gamble unless you have a really legitimate hand.

So all that i do when i’m running cold is start to count off hands and then force myself to raise whatever i get. Say to yourself “i’ll raise it in 3 or 4” and if you don’t get good hole cards before the 3rd hand ….raise it if you see anything low and connected. If you’re looking at a 7 2 off suit, then maybe wait for the next one but force yourself into that 3/4 raise. Generally you’ll be surprised at the results and even if you do get called, a high flop still gives you a great chance to bluff the hand out and a low flop may well give you a shot at a monster.

What’s great about this tactic is that it removes the problem of always waiting for the right hand and places the pressure on the rest of the table as it will be very hard for them to get a read your game. This random element simply stops you getting into patterns of play. It’s so easy to get into a folding routine, which may be fine early on in a tournament when survival is paramount but later, when you need to change gears, it will be a severe handicap as your opponents will have a very clear idea when you’re likely to be on a real hand, limiting your chances to get paid off.

If you don’t play enough hands, you won’t be given respect and other players will just walk right over you. Selective aggression is the key and will take you deep into tournaments and hopefully move you into a position to challenge for the top spot. It should be noted that this play tends to work best with the more standard poker formats such as texas hold’em and as always, like most things in poker, it won’t always work out. But next time you’re down to 5 or 6 at the table and facing a consistently cold deck, try a regular 3/4 raise (remembering the points above) and see how you get along !

Overview : Timing
 best used shorthanded
 try to play from a decent position (not obligatory)
 a good tactic if play becomes passive

Summary : Points
 try to vary who you raise into
 don’t be too afraid to raise into the big stacks on occasion
 look to play lowish to middle connected cards if possible
 make sure to raise aggressively (min x3 the bb)

The 3/4 Raise was written by Marc (harry_lime) Alexander.

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