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Isolation Raise - Either raising a player’s limp or a player’s all-in to get the pot heads-up.

An isolation raise is a fantastic way to pick up some dead money pre-flop without going to showdown and most of the time without even seeing a flop. You are largely targeting the recreational players/bad players when you make an isolation raise as they will happily limp with speculative hands or absolute rubbish and fold them without too much thought when faced with a decent raise.

Limp - To call the big blind

An isolation raise size should be around 5BB’s as this prevents the players that are still to act, like the small and big blind for example, from being priced in. If you were to make it only 3BB’s then you could end up in a multi-way pot which could be a disaster. The idea is basically to pick up all of the money that is on the table in a safe manor.

So which hands do we make an isolation raise with? We can’t just do this with trash hands as that won’t end up very profitable for us. We need hands with some kind of high card value like A-X, K-X, Q-8+, J-8+, pocket pairs and some high suited connectors, because at the end of the day we will sometimes be called so it’s important we have a hand that can flop well. For the times we do see a flop you should learn how to continuation bet.

The other time when you can make an isolation raise is when a short stacked player goes all-in. Your move would then be to re-raise, possibly all-in yourself (depending on stack size) to get the rest of the table to fold so you get a heads-up showdown with the short stack. You should really only be doing this if you think the short stack has a wide shoving range, is on tilt or is just generally a bad player. Or, of course, you have a big hand such as A-K or a big pair.

Also consider stack sizes! If you are wanting to isolate an all-in raise you will need to look at the other player’s stack sizes as any other short stacks that there may be might come along to and then you really will need a big hand, or a lot of luck.


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