Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:12 AM
Let me just go ahead and quote the section that I'm referring to so that we're all on the same page...From Chapter 13 (Bluffing):The Mini-RaiseThe mini-raise is a preflop, late position bluff that you'll find many opportunities to use if you gather a big chip stack. This is a bluff that you can make when you get to the point in the tournament when there are many short stacks compared to the costs of the blinds and antes. This is the point when the average chip stack in the tournament is short.In fast tournaments, this usually occurs sometime just after the halfway point. For example, two and a half hours into the Orleans Monday night tournament, the blinds hit $150 and $300. This is a multiple-rebuy/add-on tournament, where the average player makes 3.5 rebuys, giving the average player about $1,350 in total starting chips. This tournament generally has about 200 entrants, and at this point about two-and-a-half hours in, about half of the players have been eliminated. This means the average chip stack for the remaining 100 players is about $2,700.Since it costs $150+$300 = $450 to go around the table once, the "average" player will be desperate, with only six times the cost of going through the blinds. But in fact, there will be very few players with average sized stacks at this time. There will be a few players with chip stacks well over $10,000, a few more with stacks of $5,000 to $10,000, and many who are hanging on by a thread. It is not unusual to see six to eight players at a single table with fewer than the average number of chips. This is when the mini-raise is a beautiful move.Again, you can only make this bluff when you are very well stacked with a stack of chips relative to the blind costs and the other stacks on your table. It's a bluff that's designed to cripple the short stacks, but you can often pick up the pot with it as well. The other conditions you need to make this move are:1. You must be in late position, preferably on the button or in the cuttoff seat.2. Three or more players must have limped into the pot.3. Two or more of the limpers must be short-stacked; the more short stacks in the pot the better.You most often find these opportunities right after the blind level has increased, which further worries the short stacks. This is also the point in the tournament where you see how many truly poor players there are left in the field. It will not be uncommon at this point in the tournament to see a player with only $2,000 in chips into pot after pot, only to fold when an aggressive player makes a big raise. These players have no clue whatsoever about tournament speed factors, and they especially do not realize that with such short stacks, their only preflop bet should be all-in, unless they have aces or kings and are trying to get another player to make a move on them. Remember, when you are this short on chips, you should either be all-in or stay out of the way.In any case, here's how the mini-raise works: let's say the blinds are $150 and $300, and five players have limped in. Three of the limpers have only $1,500 to $2,000 or so. You are the chip leader, and you have about $10,000 in chips. When the action gets to you, you simply raise the minimum amount. You make the bet $600. Your cards are immaterial.This move will drive any of the "good" tournament players at your table bonkers. Even experienced aggressive players whom you know to be dangerous and whom you frequently see at final tables will be scratching their heads at your mini-raise. What the hell kind of raise is that? You can't even make this move without chuckling to yourself. But every player in that pot who just wanted to see a flop will hate you, and they'll have no idea how to read the meaning of that wimpy raise.Essentially, what you're doing with the mini-raise is forcing already desperate players into greater desperation. You are single-handedly redistributing the wealth at your table. Because of your chip stack and position, you'll often take this pot postflop because that mini-raise is just confusing as hell. Do you have aces? Big slick? Queens? Nothing but a sense of humor?Even if you don't ultimately take the pot, that mini-raise is good for you because it hurts so many other players. Most players will be compelled to call your mini-raise simply because the pot has grown so much since they put in their first $300. Often, a player who many have limped with a quality hand will go over the top of your mini-raise now that he's got a real pot to take a shot at, giving those short stacks a very tough decision, and an even tougher decision if they have already called your mini-raise before that other reraise. Obviously, if you don't have a playable hand, you fold to any reraise yourself.If no player reraises your mini-raise, then you have position after the flop and a whole table full of players who entered with non-premium hands and who view you - the big chip stack - as the preflop aggressor. If no player takes a shot at this pot postflop, any normal bet of about half the size of the pot will usually deliver it to you. If there is a postflop bet, you'll have to abandon your hand unless the flop actually hits you. But you did your dirty work and you should be pleased with the result.The mini-raise punishes players for treating a no-limit tournament like a limit ring game. One player will win a nice pot, but a lot of others will lose more chips than they intended to risk, and any short stacks will lose a lot more chips than they could afford to give up. The whole essence of a tournament is the redistribution of wealth, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. When you count yourself among the rich, anything you can do to make the poor poorer at a reasonable cost to yourself is a favorable result. You're accelerating your opponents' demise and getting yourself closer to the money. And, since you have position on this hand, you would at least have called all of those $300 limpers from the button anyway. There was just too much money in the pot for you to throw away any hand. So, that mini-raise only cost you an extra $300. If you count the strategic value of this bluff, which will give you the pot a good percentage of the time, it has little or no cost. I should point out that if you have a real hand here - say any high pocket pair or big slick, A-Q suited - you should not make a mini-raise. In that case, you should make a bet that at least matches the size of the pot. And that's no bluff.