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Bet sizing

2010-07-01

When I first began playing poker online I only played Fixed-limit Hold'em, where you can only bet a specified amount each time. Whilst I enjoyed it, and still do to this day, I then made the switch to No-limit Hold'em where you can bet any amount you like as long as you have the chips in your stack to do so.

Although you have the freedom to make varying bet sizes, each time I sit down to play a poker session I see players continually betting the same amounts regardless of the board texture, stage of the tournament or opponent type. Not only does betting the same amount each time cause you to win less money but it can also lose you money in the right situation.

Different bet sizes are required for different situations you come across, whether you are playing multi-table tournaments or poker cash games there will be situations that crop up where betting a different amount from what is considered standard is the best play.

For example, say your standard continuation bet is two-thirds of the pot regardless of whether you hit the flop or not and you have raised preflop and received a call from a player who will call any sized bet, barring an all-in or ridiculously large over-bet, if you continuation bet. You then flop top set why on Earth would you just bet two-thirds of the pot when by betting the pot or slightly over it will still be called anyway? Surely you want to get your hands on these guaranteed extra chips.

Likewise, if you are in a similar situation as above but you completely miss the flop and are only holding King-high then betting a smaller amount if indeed you wanted to even bet, maybe half the pot, would be suffice as anything else would just be throwing money away.

Bets that are for protection, such as when there are a number of draws available, need to be larger to give you a better chance of forcing your opponent to fold or at the bare minimum charge them the most you possibly can to chase their draw. Against players who fold far too frequently you should be looking to make smaller bets because the only times they call or raise you are times they have you crushed so why risk a large amount of money if a smaller amount gets the job done?

You need to be observant and make bets to suit your opponent's tendencies and how the board reads. If you find yourself unable to do this then simply reduce the number of tables you play so you can get better reads on the players you are facing.

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betsizingfixed-limitspecifiedno-limitplayingholdem.

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