Its Important to be Suited

If your hand is suited in these loose games it is a giant advantage. One of the nice things about raising with suited cards before the flop (especially the ace suited), is that when you flop a flush, or for that matter a four-flush, you welcome all bottom pairs calling. They may be right to call, but it doesn't hurt you. They may be making money by calling on the flop because there are other people involved. But they are not taking money from you. They are making you money.

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker states that if somebody is gaining money they are taking it from you.8 That's true in a heads-up pot, but there are exceptions multiway. For instance, in a four handed pot it could be possible that the fourth player in is gaining $1.00 from the second player in, $1.50 from the third player, but giving $0.75 of it back to you.

So if you flop a four-flush, especially an ace-high four-flush, and a player calls getting 12-to-l with bottom pair, he may be costing whoever holds top pair money because of the odds that he is getting, and perhaps even costing someone who holds middle pair a little money, but he is not costing you anything. He is rather making you something.

Thus, one of the reasons to raise with these flush cards is because if you flop the draw, by your making the pot bigger, people now play hands that can't win against your hand if you hit it. (This is also why if there are many players in, it is right to raise with small pairs on the button.)

8See The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky. 173

Let's be specific. Suppose you hold:

If there are five or more people in front of you who have just called, you should raise if you are in a game where the players are fairly weak. However, if they are tough you should just call, and if they are terrible, you should again just call.

When the other players are terrible, there is no reason to make this raise in order to attract their call on the flop because they will stay in anyway. If they are tough, it's not that great a play because they won't play that badly on the flop, and they will have better hands.

When many players have limped in (before the flop), a raise with an A484 would be a close decision if you were all in at that point. In other words, if you gave yourself an A484 and you dealt it out against their hands, you probably would break approximately even whether you raised or just called. However, the reason you should sometimes raise is because of how it affects future play. If the raise will get people involved so that if you do flop a four-flush and then complete it you win a giant pot, then that's a valid reason to do it. But if it doesn't achieve this desired effect or if you don't need to build up the pot to get extra calls, then you probably shouldn't do it.

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