Quinn Sivage is a professional poker player who specializes in using stats to crush mid-stakes online poker cash games. Last week on the Strategy with Kristy podcast, Sivage discussed using statistics for optimal preflop strategy in six-max no-limit hold'em games. This week, he answers listener questions and also talks about why it is so profitable, in online cash games, to raise the minimum when it folds to you on the button.
Here is a snippet from the interview:
The fact is that the button is such a ridiculously good position. You don’t need to make it any bigger than a min-raise. Here’s the really cool thing. If you min-raise, it makes their [a player from the small or big blind] three-bet a little bit worse because now there is just less in the pot. There is only 1.5 big blinds to win from the pot and your two big blinds. It’s only 3.5 big blinds that they are trying to win by three-betting out of position. So, it makes your raise a stronger play, it makes their counter-move weaker, and it makes your counter-counter move, the four-bet, stronger, as well. Because you kept the pot small, you can make your four-bet ridiculously small like 17 or 18 big blinds to win almost that much. That makes their next move, the five-bet shove, even more unattractive because there are only 30 to 35 big blinds in the pot, and having to risk 100 big blinds. Min-raising the button makes all of your counter actions stronger, and it makes your opponent’s ways to defend it, weaker.
The button is just a really tough position to mess up. If you want to make it bigger, sure if there is a recreational player in the blinds and you just want to build a nice big pot. But, in general I think the min-raise is better. Then, you can start to play more buttons. There are guys who will min-raise every button if it's folded to them. I'm not going to advocate whether or not you should be stealing 100 percent there. You just have to know what the consequences are of whatever your button-steal percentage is. Sure, it can be 100 percent, you just have to realize that, and you might have to make some adjustments.
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