First and foremost, if the point of the raise is to build a pot that we believe we have a good chance of winning, then we are missing out on value. Indeed if we are in the habit of doing this at every betting juncture, then the cumulative difference between the small pots we’re winning and the bigger pots we should be building is going to hold us back in our quest to progress. Big hands need big raises.

With a min-raise we are often committing a poker sin in that, instead of being the aggressor and taking the initiative, we are actually doing opponents a favour in many situations by helping them out with favourable pot odds for draws. If by raising too passively we are pricing someone in to overtake us then this is a serious leak in our game, and when it does happen it’s certainly due to poor play rather than bad luck. Moreover, we need to apply pressure with big raises to also take into account implied odds, so only slightly increasing a min-raise isn’t enough. (Note that with each successive call of a min-raise opponents are getting increasingly favourable odds).

Finally, apart from these numerical reasons to avoid the min-raise, it’s also a particular mistake pre-flop with a monster because, nowadays, with so many more experienced, thinking players around, it’s very likely when we believe we are being clever with premium hands (namely AA and KK) that we are in fact doing the opposite and instead ‘showing’ our cards.

The problem is that a min-raise isn’t intended to win the pot there and then, which means that opponents can effectively discount hands such as 10 10, AQ and AJ – holdings which, if we aren’t just calling with, we would prefer to play more aggressively – as well as small pairs, with which we’d like to see flops cheaply. Meanwhile, we are hardly going to be bluffing with a min-raise, either. All things considered, our min-raise essentially indicates aces or kings (this kind of bet doesn’t help QQ), so our logic has backfired. Poker might be a tricky game but often the obvious play is the best play; if we really must be crafty in this pre-flop situation we would be better off just calling to disguise our hand.

Generally, avoid the min-raise.

Good luck at the tables!