Promotion Raising is when you raise to knock out some competition, so that aspects of your hand that are moderately weak in strength might still win. It's used in all forms of poker
You have some outs or strength related to part of your hand, but have other aspects of your hand that are a little more vulnerable but could win the hand for you if the competition is light.
- An example in holdem might be raising with A2h on a 569 board with 2 hearts. If you hit your flush you win, but you raise to try and get a hand like AK to fold - you are trying to promote your Ace outs so that if an Ace comes your top pair will win.
- An example in O8 preflop is if you have A4KK, and you raise preflop - you are trying to get A3xx hands to fold, so that if a 2 comes your A4 will be best low.
- An example in O8 on the flop is if you have A234 suited to the 4, against 2 opponents on a 469 board with two of your suit, and one opponent bets. You raise - you are trying to promote your high hand so that you can win high if you hit your weak 4-high flush or catch two pair. And with your A23 for low, you have a safety net if called.
Some key principles of Promotion Raising
- Promotion Raising is not free. It costs you something, so the value better be worth it. At minimum, it costs you one additional bet. And in split pot games, you are usually trying it when you have a fairly strong hand 1-way and are trying to improve your hand the other way. So in trying to improve your hand for high, you want to knock people out. But in knocking them out, you reduce the money you'd win for low. Generally, if you can knock them out so you scoop, it's worth it. But your chances of getting a fold need to be strong enough to justify this play.
- You can't try to promote too far. If you have A256 and the 4689 board, you are asking too much to try and promote your 6-hi or catch just two pair.
- Be careful trying to promote in very large pots. You are counting on some of your opponents to fold, and by them folding part of your hand gets better - say, your 3rd best holding gets a 2nd best holding to fold. But in big pots, opponents will be less likely to fold.
- Be careful trying to promote against large fields. In pots with many opponents, someone else is more likely to have the nuts. So getting the 2nd best hand to fold doesn't do much good if your 3rd best hand still loses to the nuts.
- It's easier to try and promote for high. Most players recognize that A2/A3 hands are valuable and will play them. So people are much more likely to have hands that are close to the nuts for low than they are for high.