PokerSpoils Newsletter

Enter your email address below so I can send you exclusive promotions that I am not allowed to advertise on this website!


Popular Pages

Bet Sizing in No Limit Poker

Bet sizing is a tough skill to master but it doesn't have to be as complicated as many people make it. New players struggle all the time with bet sizing - they either make tiny bets that don't do squat or huge bets that never get called. There's a nice middle ground in there and with a little strategy, you can find the right size for all your bets.

First of all, most of your bets should be the same size. In poker, being unpredictable is sometimes best achieved by being completely predictable. What I mean is if you always bet, say, 75% of the pot on the flop, your opponents will never know if you're continuation betting a missed hand or are betting with a legitimate hand.

That right there should solve most of the problems new players have. Your bets won't all be the same exact size but they'll be the same percentage. Your opponents won't be able to gain any information about your hand by the size of your flop bets.

In addition to keeping it unpredictable, your flop bet sizes should always be big enough to give your opponents bad pot odds for draws. If you stick to a 75%-of-the-pot bet, you'll effectively reduce to pot odds for your opponents. After that, they can call all they want because you gain every time an opponent chases with poor odds.

One of the most common (and annoying) mistakes I see new players make is using tiny bets all the time. Tiny bets are pointless because they give great odds to everyone else to stay in the hand and try to draw out. If your hand isn't strong enough for a decent-sized bet, you should just check and fold it. With a strong starting hand, you should be betting more to get money in the pot and protect it against draws.

Later on in the hand there's more wiggle room to vary your bets but it's not too tough to get a general idea of how much you can get away with. If you have a strong hand and your opponent seems reluctant, you would obviously want to bet a smaller amount. If you have a calling station or someone who seems ready to battle, you can bet more. That's pretty simple stuff too.

Where it gets hard is knowing how much to bet when you have marginal hands. Here's the secret - bet as much with your marginal hands as you would value bet a strong hand against a reluctant opponent. So let's say you have top pair no kicker and you think you're ahead but aren't entirely sure. Bet exactly as much as you would with a set against an opponent who you don't want to scare away.

By betting the same amount with your marginal hands and strong hands in this situation, you keep your opponents guessing. There's no information to be gotten if you bet the same amounts with both types of hands. Your opponents won't know whether to call, fold or bluff-raise!

Occasionally the best bet size is no bet at all. Some opponents are too aggressive for their own good. These are great players to check-raise with your strong hands. It's risky to check strong hands because there's always a chance they'll check behind, causing you to miss a bet. But sometimes you can win a bigger pot by checking it to them.

The check is also a good move to use when you suspect your opponent was on a draw. If you place a big bet on the river, anyone with a draw is just going to fold, making it a zero-value play. If instead you check to him, you give him a chance to bluff with his missed draw. This move also keeps you safe because if he does happen to have something strong, you save money by letting him bet instead of you betting and then having to call a raise.

The key to proper bet sizing is to play with confidence. When you have a strong hand, bet like you know you have the best hand at the table. If anyone has you beat, they'll let you know and you can get away fairly cheaply. With weaker hands it's a little harder but experience and poker strategy articles like this one will help you get the hang of it in no time.

Poker Concepts Worth Knowing