10 More Essential Hold’em Moves: The Re-Steal

There’s no simple fix for becoming a winning poker player.

But there are a handful of simple, easy-to-execute poker moves that can make a world of difference to your bottom line.

By fine-tuning these tactics you’ll have more tools to put to work at the poker table. You’ll be able to better understand your opponents and how to manipulate them, and that will translate directly to money in your pocket.

We already wrote the book on the 10 Essential Texas Hold’em Moves and now we’re back to bring you 10 more.

Today we explain the re-steal. A close relative of the light three-bet, the re-steal is a move that will make you more money by turning your opponents' aggression against them.

How to Re-Steal in Poker

With basic poker knowledge becoming more and more commonplace you'll see players raising a lot from late position to steal the blinds, especially in tournaments. By learning when it's profitable to re-steal you'll be able to pick up that raise, plus take the blinds and antes for yourself.

The What: The re-steal refers to three-betting when you suspect a loose, aggressive player has raised to steal the blinds.

The Why: Good players know that if it folds to them on or close to the button they can raise profitably with a wide range of hands. This makes them vulnerable because much of the time their hand isn't strong enough to call a three-bet.

resteal poker
Good players will respect your re-steal.

The When: The re-steal is used most often in tournaments and sit and gos when the blinds become big enough to be worth stealing.

The Where: The re-steal is often used from the blinds to defend against a late-position raiser but can also be used when you are in position.

The Who: Re-steals work best against good players since they are more likely to raise-fold marginal hands.

How to Re-Steal the Right Way

To be clear: If you are re-stealing, you are bluffing, meaning you believe you have a worse hand than your opponent.

Three-betting when you think you have the best hand is simply raising for value.

So, if re-stealing is a bluff and requires your opponent to fold for you to win the pot, it's essential to understand the factors that contribute to you getting the fold you're looking for.

When looking for spots to re-steal you should consider the player you suspect of stealing, as well as your table-image, position and what kind of cards you're holding.

Another important point for beginners is that you must have a plan for the rest of the hand if you get called. It's easy to get lost when you're out of position in a three-bet pot.

Related Reading:

How to Re-Steal from the Stealers

The re-steal relies on your opponents' malicious intent to rob the table of its blinds and antes. Being able to spot a thief is the name of the game.

Look for players who are generally good. Chances are if they're playing a winning strategy, they're raising a lot from late position.

Looser, more aggressive players are better but it's important to differentiate between maniacs who will auto-shove when you three-bet, calling stations that will call with anything and your target:

  • Thinking players who are willing to raise-fold with marginal hands.
poker resteal
Do your best to spot players stealing.

Pay attention to everyone's preflop behavior and go after the players who are always raising from the button and cut-off.

Related Reading:

How Not to Suck at Poker: Pay Attention

Table Image, Credibility and the Re-Steal

Like any good con man, you have to be believable to get away with your bluff. 

That's why you must be aware of your own table image, just as much as that of the player you're targeting with your re-steal.

If you've been on a heater raising and three-betting with big hands for the last few orbits, people are less likely to believe you when you decide to do it as a bluff.

Generally a competent, tight-aggressive table image is best suited for re-stealing.

Be Careful Re-Stealing with Rags

Once you're able to recognize good spots to re-steal, there are a few other factors you should consider before making your final decision. Position is very important, and although the most common place to re-steal from is the blinds, the best place to do it is on the button.

People will be far less likely to call if they have to play the pot out of position. This is especially true of the competent players you'll be targeting with this move.

And even though you're looking for a fold, the cards in your hand still matter. After all, if you get called you're going to have to play the rest of the hand with them. Be careful re-stealing with hands like ace-rag and K-Q, because when you do get called you'll usually be dominated.

Lower suited connectors and small pocket pairs are good hands since you'll either hit the flop hard or miss it completely, making you less likely to lose more money with the worst hand on later streets.

Related Reading:

3 Keys to Re-Stealing

  • 1. Target players that open a lot of pots from late position
  • 2. Target players who can fold weak hands 
  • 3. The Re-steal works best when you have a solid table image

Re-Steal Bet-Size Guidelines

The re-steal is a bluff so it's important that your raise is big enough to make your opponent fold marginal hands. If your raise is too small you could price players into calling with hands they'd fold to a larger raise.

A good rule of thumb: Make your raise bigger than the sum of the blinds, antes and the initial raise. 3x your opponent's bet is standard.

Eg. if blinds are 1k/2k and your opponent makes it 5k, 15k is a reasonable 3-bet. Watch the video below to see how it works.

The Re-Steal in Action

In perhaps the most extreme example of re-stealing ever caught on film, Phil Ivey shows us why the re-steal works so well against good, aggressive players. The hand begins with a re-steal from Ivey in the big blind and spins out of control shortly after.

Read More Essential Texas Hold'em Moves:

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