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Poker Strategy With Gavin Griffin: Move Up Where They Respect Your Raises?

Griffin Explains Why Getting Respect For Your Raises Can Be A Bad Idea


Gavin GriffinIt’s become sort of a joke on the Internet; “move up to where they respect your raises.” Meaning that since people at lower limits call with more hands, if you were to play higher, you wouldn’t get sucked out on as much because people understand that a raise is a good hand and would only play good hands accordingly.

I’ve never understand this mentality. Why would you want to play with people who “respect” your raises? If they don’t respect your raises and will call with lots of bad hands, play exploitively by raising less often and smashing them when they catch a small piece of a board that you caught a big piece of. Sure, you’ll be playing a higher-variance game because it will be very showdown based and you’ll lose some pots where you get sucked out on very badly, but you’ll be printing money by playing in a game where people don’t pay attention to what you have, only to what they have.

In addition, I’ll see people show a good hand like two pair and say something like “I know you’re a good player so I’m going to fold.” or “I respect your bets so I’m going to fold.” Let’s examine these statements. What makes a good player? I’d say that a good player is one who is difficult to read, makes good value bets and bluffs in logical spots while taking into account his image and the images of those around him. If that’s true, you would respect a good player by calling, not by folding because a good player is able to bluff and value bet effectively. If someone is so predictable that it makes a hand with high absolute strength like two pair a fold when faced with a bet, doesn’t that imply that they’re not actually a good player? That they are, in fact, very easy to play against? Phil Ivey isn’t the best player in the world because you know what he has and can easily navigate how to play two pair against him. He’s the best in the world because he’s difficult to play against, balances his ranges well naturally, and you’re often quite confused as to how to proceed with your hands when you’re playing against him.

I play with Phil very rarely and only in tournaments. However, I was playing in a cash game not that long ago and there was a very good game going in the room that I had no shot at getting into. There were some people in it who were a joy to play with and some other regs that are probably winning players, but definitely winning players in that game. Someone in the game I was playing was much higher on the list than me and said something to the effect of “I don’t know if I’ll take the game if (one of the joys to play with) leaves, everyone else is good.” I told this player that I wouldn’t mind if one or even two of them left because the other players weren’t difficult to play against. Tight does not equal tough. The person I was having the conversation with seemed to be put off by this statement, not understanding. Sure, none of these other guys are giving it away, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good sort of opponent to have in the game.

In poker, predictability can be an asset. If you know how you will react in certain situations and you know how your opponents will react in those same situations, you can plan for them and those plans will often come out right. However, it can also be a hindrance. If your opponents knows how to predict your game, it’s very easy to develop a counter-strategy to exploit that game. If you’re not adjusting to this, how do you expect to win?

How, then, are we unpredictable? Well, first of all, we strive for a balanced approach to all situations. It’s difficult to find, especially if we’re playing no-limit hold’em and even more so if we’re playing in a ring game, but striving to get there is a good start. Second of all, we notice the predictability in our opponents’ games. If we can find them and take advantage of them, we shouldn’t really expect them to notice that we’re doing so. Predictable players don’t adjust well to their opponents.

Respect is definitely earned, not given. In my opinion, we earn it by playing well, winning consistently, and showing people something they haven’t seen before. If we’re doing that, what’s not to respect? ♠

Gavin Griffin was the first poker player to capture a World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour title and has amassed nearly $5 million in lifetime tournament winnings. Griffin is sponsored by You can follow him on Twitter @NHGG



over 7 years ago

Great read. I couldn't agree more.


over 7 years ago

If you're the kind of idiot who wants people to respect your raises because you don't know what to do when a bad player calls, then playing against better players is the last thing in the world thats going to increase your profits.