Free Article 5 - Bet Sizing
Knowing when to bet is an important skill in poker, but an equally or even more important skill is to know how much to bet in each situation. A good knowledge of bet sizing can help save you from making very unprofitable plays, as well as allowing you to maximize the amount of money you can make in each session. All winning poker players have the ability to make the correct size bet when necessary, and so its pretty important piece of no limit Texas Holdem strategy that you should learn.
As a general rule to start off with, you should always try and be aggressive and strong with your bets. More often than not, a small and weak-looking bet will not give you any leverage in the hand or give you any information on the strength of your opponent(s) hands.
If you regularly like to make minimum bets and raises, you will find that you are almost always giving your opponent the right odds to call you if they have a draw or even a small piece of the board. So you should try and get into the habit of making strong bets to protect your hand when you think that you are ahead and to get more information from your opponents.
The first opportunity you have to make a bet or raise is on the flop. It is here that you have the opportunity to thin out the field when you have a strong hand and make your post-flop decisions easier by reducing the number of players who continue to see a flop.
The way to reduce the amount of players in the hand is to make a decent size raise that forces other players into either calling or folding. A minimum raise before the flop isn’t going to make much of an impact, and so you will find that you get a lot of callers. A good preflop raise should be at least 3 times the size of the big blind, with the optimum raise in my opinion being around 4 big blinds.
From here on out, the size of your bets should be in relation to the size of the pot. This means that you should always look at how big the pot is before deciding how much you should bet. If you feel you have the best hand or looking to bluff, you should try and bet around 75% to 100% the size of the pot. This will give your opponents bad pot odds to call for any draw and make them consider folding with decent hands that may be slightly better than yours. Any bet larger than this will make little difference as far as odds are concerned, and you will be risking too much if your opponent has a stronger hand than you and decides to play on.
As a final note on bet sizing, you should make your re-raises strong, just as you do with your standard bets. If a player bets into you and you decide to re-raise for whatever reason, you should be looking to re-raise around 3 times the size of that player’s initial raise. Again this will put them to a tough decision and give them poor odds to call if they are on a draw.
So hopefully as you can see, the key to good bet sizing in no limit games is to stand your ground and bet strongly. If you are too afraid to put money into the pot when you feel you have a winning hand, you should probably take up another hobby. There is no room for fear in poker, and so you should always make strong bets to keep your opponents on their toes and force them to decisions.
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