Tips for bet sizing in Texas Hold’em
By Bob Garcia
It pays to go slow sometimes in Texas Hold’em, but you have to know your opponents
Once the decision to bet in Texas Hold’em has been made, it is very important to choose the correct bet size. We must never forget that the size of a bet must be made in relation to the size of the pot and in relation to our chip stack. A good poker player should always be aware of how big the pot is and his expectation of profit to know if it is in his interest to continue in a hand and what line to follow. In Texas Hold’em, this strategy is fundamental, so if the idea is to take home a good amount of money, make sure you follow it to the letter.
If, for example, a player bets $150 to win a $40 pot, he would be risking a lot to win very little. In the same way, if the pot is worth $1000 and you bet $150 again, you would be talking about a minuscule bet in relation to the pot. As the player gets deeper into the game he will see that, although bet size fashions come and go, and more advanced players have different reasons for betting different sizes, there are some things that everyone seems to agree on. For example, in the way bets are classified with respect to size. A small bet is between 30% to 50% of the pot size. A medium-size bet is between half and 3/4 of the pot, while a large bet is greater than 3/4 of the pot.
Within the large bets, preflop bets are especially relevant. As a general rule, whenever we enter a pot we must do it by raising, or re-raising, if before us there has been action by another player. The size of our raises should always be of size high enough to fulfill its function, either to get the opponent to fold, to get value out of the hand, or to prevent speculative hands from joining the pot.
If the bets are too small, they will only fatten a pot with several players, which will become more complicated to play. As a general rule, bets larger than the pot size should be avoided, because they usually only make the opponents pay us with the best of their range and abandon the hand with their worst hands.