Why You Should Raise To Gain The Initiative

In poker, the power of the raise can not be denied. A raise will turn your opponents imagination on, like opening the refrigerator will turn on a light (well maybe not quite as consistent but you get my point.) A raise will give you momentum in the hand. A raise will give you the initiative.


  1. The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.
  2. A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.

You are on the button with 57s. You have 15,000 chips and the blinds are 200/400 with an ante of 50. There is a one limper from cutoff+2 who has a stack of 13,500.

You could easily fold here and wait for a better spot but you could use your position and take the initiative and raise the pot. There is 1450 chips in the pot, so I like to raise somewhere around 1400-1600. Let us say that you raise it to 1600.

The blinds fold and it is back on the limper. He is getting great odds to call and he should call, but very often a limper will fold her and you will take down the pot.

Let us say he calls. There is 4250 in the pot and the flop is AQ6 rainbow.

The most likely scenario is he checks, you bet, he folds. This is your bread and butter play. I use it in cash games all the time and in MTT’s after the antes kick in. Your opponent will most likely have no problem laying down a Q or a pocket pair, and you pick up a nice pot with 7 high.

But if you had limped, it might be a hard sell to get him to lay down a QJ or a pair of 8’s.

No move is 100% but like all good moves it will be highly profitable in the long run. So raise! This is why open limping sucks as it negates the reasons for raising!

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