One piece of poker strategy that’s pushed by old-time pros a lot is raising for information. The idea here is to make a raise and figure out how your cards stack up against an opponent’s hand. In theory, this doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea because – depending upon what move the opponent makes – you could gain both short-term and long-term info. However, the truth is that raising for information isn’t a great idea and we’ll explain why.
While making a raise solely to collect info on another player may result in something useful, it’s not the best way to go about defining your opponent. Here is a quick list of some problems that arise when you make raises just to discover information:
- The opponent calls, which tells you very little.
- The opponent re-raises and your hand isn’t worth re-raising with; once again, this gives you nothing.
- The player folds. You win the pot here, but maybe they were bluffing and would have contributed more money.
What to do Instead
Obviously raising with the simple intention of getting information isn’t the best play in most situations. You might waste a bet if you’re forced to fold to a re-raise, or you could force an opponent to fold who would’ve bet more with a weak hand. So rather than using your raises to define another player’s range of hands, a better idea is to use your observational skills.
We’ve talked about this concept in the past, but the basic jest is that you need to constantly be watching opponents – even when you’re not involved in the hand. The more you carefully observe how opponents bet with certain hands, the closer you’ll be to defining their range when your money is on the line.