The obvious reason a player raises is that he has a strong hand. If you are playing in a pot that has been raised one or more times, there is a much better chance that you are up against strong hands, and are more likely to make a second best hand. You need a stronger hand to play in a raised pot.
Also, lots of raising before the flop reduces your implied odds. As we discussed before, that's money not currently in the pot that you plan to win if you make your desired hand. As an example, consider playing a small pair before the flop. You call with the pair, hoping to flop a set.4 If you don't flop a set, you will fold. You would like to pay one bet rather than four to see the
3Mason Malmuth's book Gambling Theory and Other Topics contains an excellent discussion of where you want to sit in relation to various kinds of players.
flop with this hand. The amount of money you'll win after the flop (assuming you make your set) will be about the same regardless of the amount you invested pre-flop. Thus, if you must call lots of raises pre-flop, you are paying a higher percentage of your anticipated earnings before you've made your hand.
You must consider the possibility of a raise behind you when deciding what to play. This is one of the reasons that position is so vitally important. When you decide to play a hand before the flop, you know only what has happened in front of you. You have to suspect/guess what is going to happen behind you and play accordingly. Obviously, if you have reason to believe that there will be one or more raises behind you, you need a stronger hand to play.
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