Bet Sizing in NLH Poker

February 21, 2011 - by mosesbet · Filed Under poker strategy Leave a Comment 

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Bet Sizing in NLH Poker

Once you’ve fully understood the rules of no limit holdem and have enough experience to know which are the best hands pre-flop the next most important lesson in my opinion is bet sizing.

Bet sizing in poker means knowing precisely how much to bet or re-raise the pot in different situations and on different boards.  In all honesty, you could get by playing online poker websites for real money without ever knowing the correct amount to bet size since a lot of it is pure common sense.

However if you NEVER both to learn correct bet-sizing in poker than you’ll eventually be leaking tons of chips and missing opportunities in your game.

Pre-flop Raising

Let’s start with the simplest part of the game, pre-flop.

When you open the raising in NLH with a solid hand such as pocket pairs or even suited connectors than you normally raise the pot 3x blinds + 1bb for each limper.  For example, if we’re sat MP+1 in a 6-max game of $1/$2 and the big blind has limped in before us than I’ll raise $7 (3xBBs + 1 BB).

The reason for adding an extra amount to your raise for each limper is that you want to prevent them from getting pot-odds to calling your and outdrawing you on the flop.  A lot of the time you’ll get marginal hands such as JQ or 56s limping into the pot and hitting a strong hand on the flop.  Essentially, if you have the best hand pre-flop (e.g. KK)  than you want to prevent this from happening or at least giving them negative odds for calling you.

3Betting pre-flop means re-raising an open-raise.  In NLH, we always make our 3betting 3x the original raise.  For instance if your opponent raised the pot $5 in a game of $1/$2 then you’ll want to re-raise to around $15.  This is considered the optimum bet size for 3betting since it gives you maximum fold equity and call equity from mediocre hands whilst also limiting how many chips that you risk at any one time.

Continuation Betting/Betting the Flop

Regardless of whether you’re ahead or bluffing, you tend to get a lot more flexibility on the flop since you can slow-play, semi-bluff or bluff an entire range of hands and almost any board.  Thus, whether you’re raising for value of bluffing a bet-size of around ½ to ¾ is appropriate.

Betting on the Turn

The turn is where things get a little tricky since there are lots of hands that I will slow play at this point or times when I will make min bets worth ¼ of the pot just to see where I stand and whether my opponent will call/re-raise me.

None the less, if you’re going to bet the turn for whatever reasons than a bet of ½ to pot size bet is normal.

Betting on the River

To keep things simple, when you’re ahead you should value bet your opponent anywhere between ¼ to ½ pot.  If you’re behind, you should consider check/folding however a bluff should be a minimum of ½ pot sized – this also depends on whether your opponent is pot-committed however.

If you’re massively ahead and you sense weakness in your opponent than you might want to just tease him with a very small 1/5 – 1/3 min bet.  This can also work as a post-oak bluff at the higher levels.

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