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The Definitive Handbook on Making Raises and Re-raises in Poker

By February 16, 2024March 8th, 2024No Comments

Poker is more than luck. It involves planning your moves and handling the game wisely. A crucial part of playing poker is knowing when to poker raise and re-raise. These actions can significantly impact the game’s outcome, influencing your opponents’ decisions and managing the size of the pot. 

It’s worth mentioning that raises and re-raises are must-have skills for your poker games, but if you overuse them without a comprehensive understanding of the topic, they will become a huge weakness in your game. This blog will discuss the rules of all the most popular variants of the game, including raises and re-raises in poker, offering you a comprehensive handbook to mastering these crucial elements of poker gameplay.

Understanding the Basics of Raises and Re-raises in Poker

Make sure to understand the basic principles governing raise and re-raise in poker. It is one of the significant decisions a player is required to make in the poker realm. These four decisions include checking, calling, betting, raising and folding. Depending on the situation, some of these options might not be available when the action is on you. 

A raise in poker involves increasing the current bet, signaling both confidence in your hand’s strength and asserting your position in the game. When it’s your turn, you can choose to match the current bet (known as a call) to remain in the hand, or you can raise the bet further. Subsequent players must then either match your raise or fold their hands.

On the other hand, a re-raise (or a”3-bet”) is yet another significant poker term that can be used to change the plot of the game and also sends a strong signal to your opponents about your confidence and the potential power of your hand. As the name suggests, a re-raise occurs after a raise when another player increases the bet size further. Essentially, it’s a raise of a raise. After a re-raise, players can call, fold, or expand the bet size again (a “4-bet”).

When to Raise and Re-raise in Poker? 

Choosing to raise in poker depends on the cards you hold, your table position, and how others play. Let’s discuss when to raise to gain the edge in poker: 

  • Preflop Aggression
    A raise pre-flop can serve multiple purposes, including thinning the field, building the pot for strong hands, or disguising the strength of speculative hands.
  • Value Betting
    When your cards are good, increasing your bet or betting again can make the total amount bigger. This way, players with not-so-good cards might still add to the pot.
  • Strategic Deception: Using Raises
    You can also raise as a bluff or semi-bluff, attempting to induce folds from players who may hold better hands. On the other hand, a re-raise or 3-bet is another significant tactic in the poker world, and when you employ it, it can significantly enhance your game.

Here are several scenarios where re-raising is often considered a strong play: 

  • Value Maximization
    When you have a premium hand (e.g., AA, KK, QQ, AKs), re-raising before the flop can help you build the pot and maximize value from players with weaker holdings.
  • To Isolate an Opponent
    When you’re up against a single raiser and believe you have a better hand or want to play heads-up against them, re-raising can discourage other players from entering the pot, allowing you to isolate and take advantage of your position or hand strength.
  • For Positional Advantage
    Re-raising from a late position (e.g., the button or one off the button) can be a strategic move to seize control of the hand, as you’ll have the advantage of acting last in subsequent betting rounds. This is effective with solid hands and as a strategic bluff or semi-bluff.
  • To Defend Your Blinds
    Against opponents who frequently raise to steal blinds, re-raising from the small or big blind can serve as a counter-strategy, deterring them from trying to steal in the future and potentially winning the pot pre-flop.

How Do You Calculate the Size of Raise and Re-raise? 

Determining the magnitude of your raises and re-raises in poker requires strategic thinking that weighs up maximizing gains, reducing exposure, and controlling the pot size in your favour. Generally, a standard pre-flop raise is about 2.5 to 3 times the big blind. However, when someone has already raised, and you’re considering a re-raise (3-bet), a common approach is to make it about 3 times the original raise if you’re in position and up to 4 times if you’re out of position. 

The rationale here is to apply enough pressure on your opponents, making it costly for them to call with marginal hands while keeping your risk manageable. This can adjust based on factors such as your opponent’s tendencies, stack depths, and how your hand plays post-flop. By tailoring the size of your raises and re-raises to these dynamics, you can better control the game flow and set yourself up for more profitable situations.


Poker is often known for delivering thrilling experiences to its players. However, raise and re-raise are must-have skills to enhance your chances of success in the game. As you strive to elevate your skills at the poker table, remember to keep the Toronto Poker Syndicate in mind. We are a premier poker brand in Canada, delivering world-class opportunities for players to experience the thrill of poker and compete at the highest levels. Get in touch with us today and embark on your poker journey.