These days your opponents in no limit Texas hold’em will be far more clued up than what they used to be! Reading poker theory on sites like 888 poker and watching videos from coaching sites helps to advance peoples understanding of no limit poker. So we then need to ask the question of how much value you can extract from merely stealing blinds? The value is thinner when it comes to raising from position these days meaning that you should probably do it less often. There are numerous problems associated with expanding your range from position.
Problem number one is that your opponents simply expect the move. Any move that is expected is by sheer definition much less effective. A boxer wouldn’t do very well if they telegraphed every punch they were about to throw. Problem number two is that you are laying your opponent odds when you raise to steal the blinds and that makes blind stealing less attractive mathematically. Thirdly it makes it very easy for your opponents to find simple counter-play and the simple counter-play is to 3/bet. While you have the option to 4/bet, that also is quite thin in terms of value.
You need to be careful when you make any play in no limit hold’em because if you offer your opponent a simple counter-play then you not only make their life easier but your own harder. If you raise with a wide range and then fold most of that range to a 3/bet then you are going to find yourself being exploited by many of your opponents at higher levels. This leaves us in a position where raising with wider ranges from all positions is probably less profitable on the whole in modern online no limit hold’em.
When you also factor in that many of your opponents will be holding short stacks and can possibly shove over your steal raises then open raising is allowing your opponents straight forward and easy responses to your actions. In years gone by then I would open raise with hands like J-8s from the hijack because my control over my opponents was more than what it is today and my value from open raising wasn’t as thin.
I knew that my opponents were much tighter and that my raise would guarantee me the button more than what it does now. These days that sort of raise is much thinner for the reasons previously mentioned because being 3/bet or floated is much more likely with the added likelihood of further aggressive action post flop forcing tougher decisions on you.
Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador at 888poker