# How high should you raise in poker?

Online players sometimes take certain details for granted. Without prior knowledge of calculations, we can immediately know the following –

The minimum possible size of the increase

Online players sometimes take certain details for granted. Without prior knowledge of calculations, we can immediately know the following –

• The minimum possible size of the increase.
• The amount of chips needed for a pot-size increase.
• Whether the action is still open for further enhancement.

Of course we can always ask the dealer these questions when we play live. However, some may find this embarrassing and it may also be unfavorable to our image. Let’s discuss the basic rules for increasing poker, so we always have the freedom to know exactly what options are available to us.

Even for those of us who play poker online, a solid understanding of the rules can help us plan our hands more effectively and better understand the flow of action.

MINIMUM INCREASE

Following assumption –

• BTN increased to 3 BB. The SB gets out. BB makes threesome bet on 10 BB.

What is BTN’s minimum possible four-bet size?

It may come as a surprise that relatively few players can easily answer this question. There are two reasons –

1. Online players do not even have to think about it (will be calculated automatically).
2. Live players will probably not use the minimum size anyway.

Take a moment to think about what the minimum possible quadruple insert size is.

The rule that regulates min-raises is mostly straightforward, although sometimes preflop scenarios are a bit more complicated. The minimum increase size is identical to the size of the previous increase. This rule is a bit simpler with a post-flop scenario. If Player A bets \$ 5, then the minimum raise size that Player B can use is an additional \$ 5 for a total bet of \$ 10.

The same logic can also be applied to our preflop scenario, but it is important to remember that the increase size of BB is not 10 BB. The previous assignment was the 3 BB BTN opening. So BB increases by 7 BB, not 10 BB. BTN’s minimal quad betting size is therefore 17 BB, an additional 7 BB. Some players might expect BTN to raise to at least 20BB because that’s double BB’s triple bet size, but we’re interested in BB’s increase size, not total bet.

With the same logic, we should be able to deduce that the minimum of BB’s triple-bet size is 5 BB. Although BTN raises to 3 BB, he only increases the bet by an additional 2 BB over the mandatory BB post. In a broader sense, BTN’s minimum opening magnification size is Preflop 2 BB (i.e. BB’s double 1 BB investment). It is impossible to increase the preflop to 1.5 BB, the opening size must be at least 1 times larger than BBs.

CALCULATE A POT-BIG INCREASE

Calculating a pot-sized raise is known to be something players struggle with. It seems so easy to look at what is in the middle and to increase the same amount, but it is still a bit more complicated than that.

Calculating a pot size raise is especially important for playing poker variants with pot-limit betting structures. Pot-Limit Omaha is currently the most popular poker variant using a pot-limit betting structure. Of course we can always ask the dealer now, but it’s so much easier if we can calculate a pot size increase for ourselves.

See if you can answer the following question:

• Flop situation. \$ 10 in the middle.
• Opponent bet \$ 8
• We decide to increase in pot size. What should be our size?

Take a moment and think. Although it is a basic game of poker, it is possible that the majority of poker players can not answer that question correctly.

Currently \$ 18 are in the middle, so it’s tempting to think that we can easily raise another \$ 18 for a total of \$ 26. This calculation is how many players would respond. That is unfortunately wrong. We can confirm this by looking at the pot odds offered to our opponent against such an increase. He would have to place \$ 18 in a \$ 62 total pot, which translates into pot odds of about 29%. Pot increases can be recognized as they give our opponent exactly 2: 1 or 33% pot odds when they call.

So, what’s the trick here? Imagine we go with the mission and see how big the overall size is. If we call, the total size of the pot would be \$ 26. This amount equals the amount of our raise. We’re raising for \$ 26 for a total of \$ 34, so our opponent would have to invest \$ 26 in a \$ 78 total to keep up. In other words, he would get exactly 33% pot odds, confirming that this is a real raise in pot format.

WHEN FURTHER INCREASE IS ILLEGAL

It’s not always a legal option in poker, even if we have chips left over. This situation occurs when a short stack has made an increase smaller than a minimum raise because it is AllIn.

Imagine a three-way flop with the following players:

Pot size: \$ 20

• Player A (Hero): \$ 100
Player B (Shorty) \$ 23
Player C (Rogue) \$ 100

Imagine we have a good hand and decide to bet \$ 15 on the flop. Player B also likes his hand and decides to push for \$ 23 All In. Normally such an increase would not be allowed: it is less than the minimum legal increase (\$ 15 extra for \$ 30 total). However, if player B All In raises, the option becomes legal.

Note that he can not raise to \$ 20; he must either go all alone, get out or go. Player C has the opportunity to raise, his minimum bet is at least \$ 15 additional chips. (Note that he does not fall suddenly to \$ 8 because player B has pushed All In for less than the minimum).

Imagine that player C decides to call, and the action is back with us. We like our hand very much and want to raise, hoping to win additional chips from player C. Can we do that? No, we can not. The ability to raise again is only open to us once we have at least ONE full size raise before the action returns to us. If Player C had decided to raise the minimum, we could now raise further. But since player C is only calling, there was no full size increase, and our options are limited to call or exit.

Of course, all of this is automatically calculated for online players, although amateurs can sometimes be surprised that their raise box is grayed out, even though they still have extra chips left over. In live games and home games, the rule has the potential to cause confusion and debate.

In the example above, it is important for Player C to be aware of the rules, as it could be harmful to him if Player A is able to raise illegally.

USEFUL FORMULAS

Here’s a quick summary of the useful formulas we’ve included in this article:

Useful formulas:

• Minimum increase calculation = Must match the previous increase size (not necessarily the previous bet size).
• Calculate pot-sized raise = Let’s pretend we’re going to call, and then look at the total pot. This is the increase amount.
• Is the action still open? = Only if we have denied at least one increase in full size since our mission.