Basic Poker Strategy: Bet Sizing and You

If you’ve ever read anything about poker strategy, you’ve probably heard about bet sizing. For a lot of basic players, it’s not a very big deal, but once you understand the rules of the game and how it flows, you’re definitely going to want to take the time to get a grip on how the size of your bets can help you present yourself at the table. It’s not always as easy as hitting the “bet pot” button or choosing a random number.

Every bet has a purpose. This means that hen you’re making a bet, you have to determine why you are doing it. Is it just a value bet? Are you trying to make the player fold? Are you slowplaying to get more money into the pot all around? The ultimate goal of your bet is directly tied to the size of the bet that you’re making. You don’t want to make the exact same bet in every circumstance and a little finesse is going to help you get there. Let’s look at some scenarios and how your bet size gets your point across.

You Want Your Opponent to Fold
While it’s easy to go all-in and scare off someone, you really want to bet as little as possible to get the job done. You want to save money as you work to push someone out, just in case they have a monster and aren’t going to let go. If you raise pre-flop in position and are called, and you wish to make a continuation bet, there’s no reason to bet the whole pot. In fact, a half- to two-thirds-pot bet will get the job done just as well as that larger bet while risking less chips because most opponents will fold to the smaller bet just as often as they will to a full-pot-size bet.

Remember: if your opponent is dead-set on calling, they are going to call no matter what the bet size. Betting the smaller amount means that you save money when you are called.

You Want Your Opponent To Call So You Can Get More Money
In this case, it’s the reverse of getting them to fold. You want to bet the highest amount that you think your opponent will call, and you’ll definitely want to know your opponent. When you’re trying this strategy, you’ll sometimes be better off making a bigger bet that will get called fewer times rather than making a smaller bet that will get called more often, but be wary. Some opponents will always believe that an overbet means you’re bluffing while others assume that your big bet means you’ve got the nuts.

The real key to good debt sizing is paying attention. Use the information you’ve gained throughout your session to decide what bet size is going to make you the most money.