Bet-Sizing Before The Flop

poker betting

In poker, the concept of bet sizing is an important aspect of the game to execute correctly. The mistake many amateur players make is varying bet sizing based on the strength of their hand. You can be confident that it’s something observant players will be looking at since there are no physical tells they can rely on when playing online poker.

So how can you play unexploited poker when it comes to bet sizing? I think the best approach is to be consistent with your bet sizing pre-flop. Usually in the games you play in, players will have a standard raise size and most players stick to that. How much to raise pre-flop can also depend on your position at the table.

If it’s your turn to bet, as a general rule, as you would know, it is much much better to raise then to call, so you decided to raise. But how much?

First, your own two hole cards should not be the only factor as for the amount you raise. You just cannot raise a lot with big hands and a little with smaller hands, or vice versa, since that would make you easily read by your opponents. You should always try to bet enough to force the blinds out of the picture, once the table is folded to them.

By raising from early position (EP), you represent a big hand, thus needing a smaller raise to convince the blinds to fold. Moreover, since you hold a good hand, you don’t mind a call from one of the blinds or both of them, in fact, the only reason you raised is to narrow the field a bit. Some players like to raise bigger in EP to make sure most of the players who have position on them in the hand fold. That is another factor to consider.

From later positions, you represent a hand that can beat the remaining few hands to act after you. Thus, you might be doing it with weaker hands, and that merits a smaller raise, especially if you have aggressive players left to act who are likely to 3-bet light.

Don’t make the common mistake of raising too little or too much when playing online poker, and try to keep your raises to about 3-4 times the big blind. This will narrow the field, and will not cost you much if you encounter a big re-raise and hold a marginal hand. This will serve another purpose, by not telegraphing the strength of your hands by the size of your opening raises.

If there is someone who has raised already and you have a premium starting hand, then you should consider re-raising in this spot to get more chips in the middle pre flop. If the initial raiser is a loose player they will be calling the 3bet with a wide range, and you are making it significantly easier for yourself to win their stack. Generally, 3x the open raise is a good size for a 3-bet when playing against 100bb stacks. If you make it much bigger you are making it very obvious you have a strong hand.