There's been a lot of talk/debate/discussion on bet-sizing the past few days, so I thought I'd throw up a thread devoted entirely to the topic of bet-sizing.
I'll start it off with just the basics of the concept and why proper bet-sizing is important:
#1 -- It lets you control the size of the pot
#2 -- it gets maximum value from your good hands
#3-- it lets you win pots by risking less money
#4 -- it balances your bluffs and good hands
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July 22nd, 2012 #1
July 22nd, 2012 #2
#5 -- One of the only ways to exchange (get or give) information with others in the hand."People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them." - George Bernard Shaw
July 23rd, 2012 #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- by a river
- PFO Points
I don't understand. How much though? I used to always go into auto pilot and bet the same amount (% of the pot everytime). When you are making a bet do you ask yourself "how strong is my/his hand?" "Should I pot control?" "How much will he call to get maximum value?" "What woud a good bluff bet?". How does board texture play into this?
July 23rd, 2012 #4
There are two schools of thought on this (for pre-flop and flop), some people bet random amounts (some bluffs are 1/3 pot, some are 1/2 pot and some are 3/4 pot, ditto for good hands and draws) while other people use a predetermined amount. Turn and river bets are usually more situational and vary a lot more.
For instance, I play PLO more than NLHE and my standard line is a pot bet pre-flop and pot bet when I c-bet on the flop, UNLESS the board is paired or there is a straight or flush possible in which cases I bet 1/2 pot whether I have the nuts or absolutely nothing. simply because these ared the boards that people either have it or they don't, so why risk getting a full pot re-raised when a 1/2 pot bet accomplishes the same thing, and when I do have it and they try to steal I can then play from there.
July 23rd, 2012 #5
I always ask myself, "what do I want them to think, and how can I use my bet size to influence that?” However, to do that you have to be inside their head. The problem is, bet size is only 1 pillar in a fairly complex decision making process.
In addition to a bet size, what other information do your opponents have to decide what the heck you are holding? Your table image, their knowledge of the game, any tells you may have, their opinion as you as a player and what they think you know. This last one is different than table image; I treat a loose brand new player much different than a loose experienced player.
I like to spend the first 10 – 30 minutes at a live table, especially a casino, putting my opponents into various groups. Until I have an idea how they may be thinking, I can’t predict how a ½ pot flop cbet from me will affect them. After I’ve sized them up I decide how I’ll be playing and try to give hits of an opposite image. With this table do I think TAG (Tight Aggressive) is best, then I’ll be sure to play the few obviously LAG hands, including showing a bluff.
Also try to recognize there are people who rarely thinking of your cards/bets/tells at all. They see their cards and very little else.
With all of this background we can start asking, “what will each of the villains in the hand (and those watching altering their image of me) think I may have given the current situation.” If I’m LAG a standard bet means almost atc (any two cards). This can be good if you are looking for callers. If my image is tight, many will assume a made hand or great cards/nut draws.
This is all fairly complicated, and it doesn’t have to be. You can make general assumptions and follow bet sizing best practices. There is more I want to say now but have to go."People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them." - George Bernard Shaw
July 23rd, 2012 #6
In addition, or in extension, to trying to control what they think, if fact the goal is to get them to act the way you want them to act. In order to accomplish this you want to have a good understanding what they they (could) have.
What do others think? Is any of this relevant to bet sizing in today's world of poker? Does it only apply to live, since I admit much of this is much harder online? Although I do start to apply it once I've been sitting at a table for a while and feel I've sized people up.
Is it is better just to play buy-the-book and grind your way through the math?
I realize I haven't actually addressed how I bet size, but considering the plethora of factors I try to apply it's tough to get to details without specific scenarios."People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them." - George Bernard Shaw
July 24th, 2012 #7
My first question is always: What is the most profitable way to play this hand?
From there I look at what my opponent may have, what their hstory is with calling big/small bets, etc.
The real issue with bet-sizing is to not make a mistake mathematically. Sure a 4BB blind-steal from the button is going to have a better success-rate than a 2.5BB raise, but it also needs to work a far higher percentage of the time. With a 2.5BB raise you are risking 2.5BB to win 1.5BB, where with a larger raise you are risking 4BB to win 1.5BB. There is also the issue of post-flop where a continuation bet 5BB instead of 3BB. The larger the pot the more likely the otehr player is going to fight for it with either a strong hand or a well-timed bluff.
In the end the new-math players have determined that the smaller pre-flop raises are better long-term value, especially considering you have position
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