When discussing which aspects are crucial towards success in poker, most people think of the poker face as a key component. In reality, the size of your bets and the way you place them at the table are equally important to maintaining your image and keeping your opponents from reading your hand.
Indeed, making the wrong bets at the wrong time can be a quick way to get yourself knocked out of a tournament. On the other hand, placing the right bets will ensure that the other players don’t find you to be an easy target when looking for the next person to force into folding.
So how do you know when to bluff and go big and when to push only a few chips forward? Here are a few poker tips that will help you size your bets in a manner that won’t have you leaving the game prematurely:
Poker Tips: Open in High Gear: Bet 3x the Big Blind
Years ago, a bet 3x the size of the big blind was the standard opening raise, and in many tournaments, it still performs well during the early stages, especially if you’re confident in your hand.
Some players make the mistake of playing too loosely in the opening hands, putting themselves at risk of taking extraordinary losses before stumbling upon their best hand of the match.
It’s important to ensure that you’ll still have a large enough stack to make big moves later on when you land on a seemingly unbeatable hand that could force others to fold if you bet high enough, so don’t overdo the 3x preflop but do try to use it early on when applicable. This type of betting is popular in Vegas live cash games.
Don’t Necessarily Stick with the 2x Preflop (Min-raise)
This is a popular poker strategy in the open preflop, but it can also be the cause of a number of problems.
First, it doesn’t really guarantee you the chance to win big coming out of the gate. Second, there’s a good chance that you’ll be re-raised, sending the pool higher but not to its maximum potential.
Ultimately, the min-raise is good if you’re being extra cautious, but if you’re looking to come out with a strong lead it’s not the best choice. Normally, the best betting tips are to opt for larger bets in the beginning and then be more cautious after a few hands have been played.
Appeal to All Stacks Later with a 2.2 – 2.5x Preflop Bet
After the game begins to progress into the mid to late stages, you’ll notice that there are a variety of stack sizes on the table, with some opponents looking to double up and get back in the race while others are hording huge piles of chips.
Oftentimes the best way to entice everyone to get in on the action is to bet 2.2 – 2.5 times the size of the big blind. The players with short stacks may still have enough chips to open with a 2.5 bet and then fold without outing themselves.
Players with the larger stacks are hoping that other players will call and lose more of their chips. Thus, taking the middle ground during pivotal times can keep everyone involved without over-representing what’s in your hand.
Betting Tips to Choose a Postflop Bet withYour Hand
Postflop bets are a bit more flexible and since you have your cards in-hand it’s easier to make an informed decision. For example’s sake, here are three popular postflop bet sizes to consider:
Small (¼ pot) – Betting 20% – 25% of the existing pot after the flop can prevent you from putting enough chips into the pot to fold out the smaller opponents, but it can also motivate more aggressive players to put in larger raises because they may assume that your hand is weak.
This sort of reverse bluffing can be effective when you’re facing a tight-aggressive player who has been playing a lot of their hands with 3x bets because you can be confident that they’ll raise the pot higher without you having to give away how great your hand is by making a large bet on the postflop.
Medium (½ to ¾ pot) – Taking the middle ground can be effective in the early stages when most of the other players will be more inclined to call your bets. It’s a good way to stay neutral and encourage a large pot size without playing too aggressively.
Large (size of the pot or larger) – Generally, over bets should be avoided in most cases because it’s an obviously polarizing move – suggesting that you either have an awesome hand or you’re purely bluffing.
However, if you’re highly confident that you’re going to have the winning hand, it can be an effective way to get your opponents to fold out or mistake your move for a bluff and raise or call your bet.
Leverage Your Chips While You Have Them
Although there are never any universal poker betting rules that will cause you to win in every scenario, generally it’s a good rule of thumb to start with higher bets while your chip stack allows for it. This will give you the chance to be the one with the big stacks in the later stages.
Interested in more poker and betting tips? Then check out “Which Betting Strategy is the Most Profitable?“