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Run Them Over (If They Will Let You)

by Jonathan Little |  Published: Feb 10, 2021

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Jonathan LittleIt is often wise to play a tight, aggressive poker strategy, but when you happen to find yourself in a game consisting of mostly tight, passive players, you will find that you can make a profitable adjustment. By frequently raising and making continuation bets, you will be surprised how often you can win pots that don’t belong to you.

But how do you know if the table you are playing at is ideal for a more aggressive approach? The way to figure out if you are at one of these lucrative tables is to pay attention to how many hands make it to the turn and river.

If most of the pots are won with either a preflop raise or a preflop raise plus a continuation bet, then you should strongly consider opening up your game, even getting out of line yourself to see if your opponents will let you run them over. If you never get out of line, you will never know if you are at a table that will let you steal a ton of chips.

Doing this is also an easy way to see if your opponents are making a mistake by folding too often. If everyone folds to you in late position, raise to about three big blinds with a wide range and then make a continuation bet of about four big blinds on most flops.

For example, if everyone folds to you on the button, feel free to raise to three big blinds with a hand like 6Heart Suit 3Heart Suit. If the big blind calls, throw out a four-big blind continuation bet on essentially any flop, even ASpade Suit KSpade Suit QClub Suit. If your opponent folds, that is great, and if they call or play back at you, you should give up. You must accept that not all your bluffs will succeed.

Another way to see if your opponents will fold too often is to re-raise them before the flop. If a player in middle position raises, re-raise them to about three times their initial raise with a wide range of hands with post-flop playability, such as 9-7 suited. You can also re-raise with hands containing an ace or king blocker, such as A-6 offsuit or K-5 suited. If they call, you can then make a continuation bet of about half of the size of the pot on most flops, whether you connect with the board or not.

Unlike most games where your hole cards are at least somewhat important, if you know you will win most pots without showing your cards, your own cards become much less relevant. If you do find yourself at a table that will let you run them over, you should make a point to steal as many pots as you reasonably can without looking like a total maniac. Much of your profit will come from maximizing fold equity, meaning you will make most of your money because your opponents choose to fold too often.

Sometimes it really is as easy as betting and winning when your opponents do not have a strong hand. When you’re at a table full of passive players who are just slowly bleeding money by waiting around for only premium hands, do not be afraid to get out of line and steal more than your fair share. Opportunities like that don’t come around as often as they used to, and when they do, you have to be ready and willing to capitalize on them. ♠

Jonathan LittleJonathan Little is a professional poker player with over $7 million in live tournament earnings, best-selling author of 15 educational poker books, and 2019 GPI Poker Personality of the Year. If you want to increase your poker skills and learn to crush the games, check out his training site PokerCoaching.com. Click here to try PokerCoaching.com for free.