Texas Hold ’em Raising

To play Texas Hold ’em well, you need to be very selective about which cards you play. Once you do choose to play a hand though, you need to be aggressive – and raising is part of the strategy you need to use.

When to Raise

It’s a good idea to raise and even to re-raise whenever you have a pair of aces, kings, queens, jacks or 10s. In this case, you probably have the strongest hand, and reraising helps eliminate other players from the field – players who otherwise may acquire strong hands once the flop is down.

You should also consider raising with

  • an ace with a suited king, queen or jack
  • a king with a suited queen
  • an ace with an unsuited king or queen
  • a king with an unsuited queen

If you’re in late position and the pot hasn’t yet been raised, it’s generally safe to raise with any pair, an ace with any kicker, or a king with a queen, jack, 10 or 9.

Reacting to Raises from Other Players

In Texas Hold ’em, a raise from a player in early position is a strong warning that the calling player has a strong hand. If this happens before it’s your turn to act, it’s wise to fold on all but the very strongest of cards. You need a stronger hand to call a raise than to initiate one, so you should call only if you have good reason to believe that your opponent’s hand will be weaker than yours.

A raise from a position in later player means less – especially if the pot is low or contains only the blind bets, a player may raise at this position with little in their hand to back it up.

If a player raises after you’ve called, you can call the raise, see the flop and decide on the best action. If you call and then are raised and raised again by a third player, it’s a good time to fold unless your hand is exceptionally strong.