Re-steals are a great way to both make money and balance your range pre-flop. Even when your re-steal attempts fail, you are still going to derive a significant benefit if you know what you are doing. With that said, however, your goal should still be to find as much success as possible. If you can take down just a handful of pots per session with re-steals, you will be boosting your win rate by a fair margin. Re-steals do not have to be high risk if you do not want them to be. There is no shortage of opportunities to take shots at pots where you will have a great chance of success with a minimal amount of money at risk. Once you are able to identify these spots, the only thing left to do is execute.
Your position, opponents, and your hand are the three main variables at play when trying to determine whether or not you are in a good spot for a re-steal. If you are out of position, forget about it. If you are playing against very loose players who never fold, just move on. If you have a hand that plays badly in a 3 bet situation, don’t even bother. These are just a few examples of how you can safely and effectively narrow down which spots are and which spots are not profitable when it comes to re-stealing. Of course, there is more involved than this, and the dynamics reach quite a bit deeper. Overall, though, there is nothing that is all that complicated about making money with your re-steals. It will definitely take a bit of trial and error before you get your plays down pat, but it will come as second nature once you truly know what you are doing.
Position is everything when it comes to stealing a pot pre-flop, and it is even more important when you are attempting a re-steal. Your opponents are going to feel extreme pressure if they are re-raised and will be forced to play the pot out of position after the flop. As a result, they will often times simply give up their hand and you will take down the pot with little resistance. Alternatively, the player who you are raising could come back over the top, making it easy for you to let go of your hand. The third possible outcome of re-stealing in position is that your opponent calls, and you then get to play the hand in position. This will give you the opportunity to take down the pot with some creative post-flop strategy, or even get lucky and extract value. No matter which of these three scenarios ends up taking place, there is an infinite amount of added value in any re-steal when you have position.
Position will allow you to most accurately gauge how your opponents are likely to react to any play that you make. When you are out of position, you have no clue whether someone is going to call a raise, re-raise, or fold their hand. In this case, however, you can gauge just how many people are apt to making a fold. If a player makes an open raise, gets a few callers, and then you re-raise, the only true area of certain doubt is whether the original raiser folds. If the opening raiser does let go of their hand, your chances of winning the pot have gone through the roof. This is an example of a situation where a re-steal is profitable…
1.) When a player opens the action, gets multiple callers, and you have the opportunity to re-steal, take advantage of it. The only caveat to this particular play is if you are facing a set of players who are particularly loose and will call any raise. The more players that flat call an open raise, the more dead money that is in the pot. When making this play, be sure that your raise sizes are large enough to get everyone off their hand. Raise to 4x-6x the open raise amount, ensuring that you either get re-pushed out of the pot, or that you take it down.
Your opponents should always be taken into consideration no matter what sort of play you are making. Whether you are calling someone else’s raise or attempting a re-steal, your opponents’ tendencies should always be factored in. With that in mind, for the purpose of re-steals, you will be facing two different types of players: people who can fold and people who can’t fold. It should go without saying that you should only be 3-betting against those players who have demonstrated the ability to fold their hands when they face pressure from out of position. Re-stealing against a calling station is as good as giving money away.
In addition to spotting players who you think can make a fold, you should also determining which players are capable of making steal attempts of their own. If you know that a particular player is strong enough that they would steal a pot to pick up the dead money, it increases the chances that your re-steal will work.
2.) Always ensure that a big re-steal is made against players who have previously shown that they have the ability to fold. Never get involved in re-steal pots with a player who has no fold button, especially when you have little to show for your re-raise.
3.) Isolate and punish the players at your table who know when to make steals. This could mean that the player is stealing dead money, the blinds, or both. If you have position on a player and feel like there is a good chance that they are making a move, don’t be afraid to fight back with a 3-bet. Odds are that they will back down to the pressure and you will take down the pot.
As inconsequential as it might seem when you are re-stealing, your hand is actually very important. The actual makeup of your hand is vital because it will determine whether you have some post-flop prospects. Beyond this, you do not want to re-steal with a hand where you are sucking out actual value.
4.) The best type of hand to re-steal with is something that is both deceptive and valuable. In other words, big suited cards with random kickers will offer a lot of value. Imagine if you re-raised with K7 suited. If you get 4-bet, you should certainly fold in most every situation, but if you get called, there could be something big for you on the flop. With this type of hand, two 7s or a flush draw on the flop would not be likely to hit you in the eyes of your opponent. This hand also tends to miss flops quite badly, so you will have no trouble moving on when you brick the board.
5.) The worst type of hands to re-steal with are suited connectors and small pocket pairs. Unless you are turning your hand into a complete and total bluff, which you shouldn’t be, you are going to wipe out all of the value that your hand has. For example, a suited connector is able to make money through small investments that hit the flop hard. When you re-steal with this hand, you are eliminating the entire aspect of small investments. The same can be said for small pocket pairs. Play these hands for post-flop value, not as a re-steal.