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Raising to Get More Money in the Pot

Getting more money in the pot is the primary reason to raise when you think you have the best hand. Clearly you would raise a single opponent on the end with what you think is the best hand, but on earlier rounds you must always decide whether it's worth giving your hand away to get another bet or two in the pot. Essentially, the decision to raise on an early round depends upon the size of the pot and how big a favorite you think your hand is.

Ironically, the better your hand, the more reason you would have for not raising on an early round. If you think opponents will call another player's bet but fold if you raise, and if at the same time you figure they aren't getting sufficient pot odds to call a bet if they knew what you had, then you should not raise. You should give them the opportunity to make the mistake of calling. However, if they are getting correct pot odds to call a single bet, which is most often the case, you should raise even if they are still getting sufficient pot odds to call both the bet and the raise. In this instance, you're rooting for them to fold, but when they do call, you're at least getting more money in a pot you expect to win most of the time. Then again, by all means raise if you expect an opponent who shouldn't even call a single bet to call a raise. You might as well get as much money from a hopeless chaser as you possibly can. Similarly, when you get heads-up with one opponent in a limit games, it is generally correct to raise if you think you have the best hand to make your opponent fold hands with which he might outdraw you.

As the pot gets larger and larger, it becomes less and less important to disguise your big hands and more and more important to get even more money in the pot. Often with a large pot, you're rooting for opponents to fold when you raise, for they're probably getting sufficient pot odds to call. However, whether you hope they fold or hope they call, the size of the pot is likely to keep them around to see another card. Therefore, it is usually correct to raise with what you think is the best hand and get more money into a large pot even if it tends to give your hand away.

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