Going All-In Too Often Pre-Flop

Welcome to read part 1 one of our new “lose in poker” series. In these poker strategy articles we will look at some of the mistakes that the people who lose in poker do. And if you are one of them we will tell you how to fix the leak and stop losing.

Go all in less before the flop and win

One of the most common mistakes losing poker players do is going all in too often before the flop. Yes the people who lose in poker usually have also bunch of other leaks in their game, but going all in before the flop too loosely is one of the easiest ways to lose money in poker.

In this poker strategy article we will look at a common preflop situation and tell you what you should think in the situation.

Think what he thinks you have

The above applies only if you are playing against thinking players. It does not apply against poker players who think only about their own holding.

However whenever you are playing against thinking poker players you shouldn’t think about your hands value in the hand ranking system but rather about if your hand is a better than what your opponent thinks.

A very basic example of this would be that you have been playing extremely tight (either because it is your style or just because your not getting cards, it doesn’t matter because your opponent doesn’t know which one it is) and then in a one hand you make sizable re-raise before the flop. If the thinking player has no reason to assume that you are trying to bully him around he will without the slightest doubt put you on a strong hand.

Thus if he comes over the top against your re-raise he can do it only for four reasons:

1) The stacks are very low. If you are playing $0.5/$1 no limit and his first raise was with stack of $15 to $4 and you raised to $10 he will now re-raise all with virtually every hand, this is even if he know that you have a good hand. The reason is simply that he has invested too much of his stack to the pot to get out.

2) He is playing mind games with you. In other words he knows that you know that for him to come over the top he would have to usually have a very strong hand and thus he instead comes over the top in this spot also with non-premium hands. Only extremely good players will do elaborate moves like that. Unless you have a reason to suspect that your opponent is extremely good poker player you can just ignore this option.

3) Your opponent doesn’t care that you have a strong hand because he thinks he has a stronger one. This is by far the most likely scenario. In this case you need to first think about what your opponent thinks you have and after that you need to look at your real hand. If your opponent thinks you might do the re-raise with any pocket pair over 88s or with AK or AQ and you have QQ in your hand your can commit to the pot. However if he thinks that you could only have JJ, QQ, KK or AA and you have the worst possible hand of them – JJ you should most of the time get out of the pot if you don’t have sufficient odds for trying to hit three of a kind on the flop.

To summarize in a few words what was said above: If you are playing tight you also need to be tighter at getting all in before the flop.

When to go all in against loose player

Too often we have seen a tight poker player getting all his chips to the pot before the flop with pair of tens against a thinking player only to notice that the thinking player that appeared be extremely loose had aces. Worst of all many of these tight players end up cursing their luck and thinking that they were only unlucky to be against pocket aces that time.

That brings us to other important point: When you are playing against a loose thinking players take a note about the hands that they are willing to go all in against the type of poker players that you are. The thinking loose players can appear to get all in rather loosely, but often when you look at the hand you will notice that their opponent was even looser player and thus the thinking player concluded that his “no-so-good” hand was actually most of the time better than the even looser players hand.

And when the loose thinking player goes all in against tight players he does it only with much stronger range of hands.

You can try out these tips at Bodog poker which is one of the most popular online poker rooms and known of their loose poker games.