Isolation raising is basically putting in a raise when one or more opponents have limped before you. Limping is opening the action by simply matching the big blind and not raising.
When we’re talking about small stakes games, isolation raising is one of the most profitable plays a player can make at the table. It’s mainly to take advantage of players who are either limping way too often, or are simply not 3-betting aggressively enough. Both of these errors are pretty common in small stakes games.
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For someone who’s starting out in poker and studying about the game, isolation raising is one of the first strategies that we recommend you work upon and immediately start using it at the tables.
Isolation raises allow you to generate more money in the pot with your strong hands and also allow you to make other players fold with whatever hands they were limping which earns you an instant profit!
What you need to make sure is that the bet-sizing of your raise is just perfect. For example, In a loose Re.1/Rs.2 game, three players limp to you on the button. You have AKo. If you raise to a standard Rs.15 (still fairly large) there’s a good chance you will be 4+ ways to the flop.
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However if you raise to Rs.25, you’d likely get a few of the weaker hands to reconsider. Even if everyone folds and you immediately win the Rs.9 from the pot, that’s also a good scenario. If one or two players get stubborn with weaker hands, you’ve increased the size of the pot where you:
- Have a hand that dominates their ranges
- Have position
- Will be frequently offered a free card or a profitable bluffing opportunity on the flop
Everything about this scenario is more profitable! If you’re a beginner, we recommend that you study ISO ranges and simply raise strong hands when facing limps. This strategy is so profitable, that some expert poker players might even make such plays with 100% of their ranges!
If you’re a beginner, do this with a tight range and enjoy all the money you win from the pot, uncontested!
Note: Limping too often is bad.