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Online NLH Poker Bet Sizing: Know What to bet & When

Many ‘new to the game’ struggle with a bet they should place during a hand. It’s a right-hand rule that if you’re unable to identify the right bet at every stage of the hand, you’ll notice a significant leak in your stack.   

Making the right sized bets will maximize the odds of your win and eventually minimize your losses. Most of all, you’ll be giving bad odds to your opponents to call when they have drawing hands.  

Sizing your bet right is one of the critical skills while playing No-Limit Texas Hold ’em Poker Online

The ‘How’ of Bet Sizing

The size of the bet you make at any point of the game, on any hand, should be concerning the current pot of the game. You should always keep in mind the pot amount before raising anything. This is because the bet you make into the pot will determine your opponent’s pot odds, so either they’ll make a call with the right odds or make a call with incorrect odds.  

Every time they call on incorrect odds, we’re gaining on the game as they’re repeating those mistakes again and again. It’s of utmost importance that we make good-sized bets to make sure we force our opponents’ mistakes. 

Lousy Call (on incorrect pot odds) by opponents = Profit

The standard bet is 3/4ths of the total pot.

Rules for Betting

  1. 1/4th of the pot: Never bet this small
  2. Between 1/4th & Half Pot: These are usually under bets, and you should use them in rare situations. If you know your opponent is right and won’t call anything more significant, you should use it.
  3. Between half pot to 3/4th of the pot: This is the best spot for a sweet bet sizing.
  4. More than 3/4ths of the pot: They are usually big value bets or overbets.

These four rules determine optimum, effective, and inadequate bet sizes.

Why bet BIG?

  1. You’re giving incorrect odds to your opponents with drawing hands
  2. Our value of bet increases when opponents call with a worse hand

There are very few instances where any professional poker player would bet less than half of the pot. Making weak bets usually loses you value on your hands, and they give the right odds to your opponents to outdraw you with the worst hand.

Tip: If you have over 100 Big Blinds and there’s a hand you want to get all-in on the River, you should bet the full size of the pot on the flop and turn because of progressive bet sizing and pot growth. 

Small Bets: When & How

Small bets are never a good idea, half-pot or smaller. However, there are always exceptions. The only time you should bet small is when you know you won’t get outdrawn from an opponent and that your opponent will only call a smaller bet than a larger one. Even then, a lot of times, you’ll discover larger bets give you more value in the longer run. 

Why Big Bets over Small Raises

Bets give you information. However, we should never bet for the sole reason of getting information. For our opponents to call, they must feel they have a strong right hand or a firm drawing hand. Therefore, it’ll help us identify the range of hands they could hold. 

We always will get more value from big bets. If we believe we have the best hand, then we should continue the bets and extract value from our opponents by taking advantage of the Pot equity. 

The Most Common Mistake!

The most common mistake amateurs make they make minimum bets and raises when the action gets on them. If you’re making a minimum bet pre-flop, you’ll notice that almost everyone on the table is willing to call you as you’re giving them excellent odds to see the flop with any two random holdings. 

As a rule, never make minimum bets. Either make a strong bet or don’t bet at all. 

Similarly, if you raise a player with a minimum bet that bets into you, you’ll most of the time be giving them the right odds to outdraw your post-flop. Moreover, a minimum bet tells you almost nothing about your opponent’s holdings as they’ll be calling with any two cards.  

Bet Size: Pre-Flop

The basic maths of pre-flop raise is three times the Big Blind plus one big blind for each limper. 

3 BB + 1 BB for each Limper

If you’re making a raise pre-flop, you should raise around 3-4 BBs. If there are limpers, add one big blind for each to the 3-4 BBs to prevent other players from calling with good odds.

So, if you’re playing a table of 5/10 and there are two limpers, a good 50-60 should be sufficient. 

The Bottom Line is

  • Raise almost 3/4th of the pot post-flop
  • Bet 3-4 BBs pre flop + 1 BB for each limper.

Whenever you decide to make a bet, make sure you count chips in the pot before looking at your opponent’s stack. It’s crucial to reduce the odds for your opponents and maximize your hand’s value by making healthy bets. 

Making weak bets and playing a passive game will leave you open to run over by your opponents when they have weaker hands than you. So make sure to stand your ground firm and make strong bets in the pot at every opportunity you get to make sure your opponents know you’re not the one to be messed with. 

Gaurav Sangwani
Formerly a startup journalist, Gaurav now works as a Content Manager & Writer for Mobile Premier League. A non-fiction author with a flair for technology & games. Gaurav has also contributed hundreds of blogs for different media publications.


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