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ArticlesPostflop StrategyHow to think about your bet sizing properly
How to think about your bet sizing properly
Written by: CHUNDOI/THATSSOSICK · Date Added: 20 Jan, 2012 · Number of views: 5463
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Bet sizing is one of the most underrated aspects of poker. It is absolutely essential to each and every hand that you size your bets appropriately to what you are trying to achieve. When I coach my students, we commonly come across spots where the bet sizing that he chose is not a sizing that he put much thought into. Many players just default to betting a certain % of the pot without analysing it properly.

An example hand I would like to talk about is the one below, it was taken from a student that I coached and I have simplified it. We are playing 100NL:
Hero (UTG): $100
MP: $100
CO: $100
BTN: $100
SB: $100
BB: $100

Dealt to Hero [Kh Qh]
Hero raises to $4, 4 folds, BB calls $3

Flop [Ah 9s 9d] ($9)
BB checks, Hero bets $6.5

The villain we are playing is a passive fish who displays stats of 30/5. In this spot, it does not make sense to cbet a sizing of 6.5bbs as it is extremely obvious that his continuing range on the flop is extremely inelastic. An inelastic range is a range that is insensitive to the bet sizing you make. On this flop this type of player is continuing a range of (Ax, 9x,TT-KK) and is folding everything else. Of that range he is not really sensitive to your bet size. So if you bet 9 or 5 he will still continue that range. You can say its unlikely he continues with TT-KK if you bet something like 50 but it does not make much sense to cbet 50bbs so we can disregard that.

So in a spot where he is continuing an inelastic range and we don’t have a legitimate hand we should be betting on the smaller side. A bet of 5, 4.5, even 4 works fine here vs this type of player. We will be saving at least 1.5bbs when we get called. Thinking relative to winrates of 5bb/100, 1.5bbs is quite significant.

This was a very simple spot, lets look at a slightly more complicated one, my student is still playing 100NL, villain is an unknown but seems to be quite straightforward 20/18/6 3bet, we don’t have any history with villain, we have only played 100 hands together.
UTG: $100
MP: $100
Hero (CO): $100
BTN: $100
SB: $100
BB: $100

Dealt to Hero [7s 7d]
2 folds, Hero raises to $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2.

Flop [Ks 7h 2s] ($7)
BB checks, Hero bets $4, BB calls $4

Turn [Ks 7h 2s] [Td] ($15)
BB checks, Hero bets $10, BB calls $10

River [Ks 7h 2s] [Td] [Qh] ($35)
BB checks, Hero bets $26, BB calls $26

Hero shows [7s 7d] three sevens.
BB mucks [Kd Qs] two pair, Kings and Queens.

Hero wins pot $87.

Good result for my student he wins an 87bb pot. I would like to talk about his bet sizing and what he is trying to accomplish.

Once we flop a set, our first thought should be thinking about how to get as much money into the pot as possible. Vs a villain who has not seen us play much cbetting $4 is a leak. Reason being it’s a flop where I think his continuing range is quite inelastic once again. He will be continuing a range of (88-JJ, Kx, flush draws, 22, 7x and maybe 33-66) besides from the 33-66 range he will be calling the rest of his range pretty much to any bet we bet between 1bb to pot of 7bb. It would make us look extremely strong in betting full pot, so I would advise to bet 5.5 in this spot. You might be thinking its only 1.5bb more than the 4bb we originally bet. But you have to remember pot sizes grow exponentially.

The turn pot size would have been 18bb now.

This means we can bet 15 on the turn rather than 10. His range for continuing on the turn are Kx some flush draws and once again it is quite inelastic. He will be folding hands like 88 whether you bet 10 or 15. River pot size will now be 48bb.

Once the Q comes on the river. His range is Kx, some KT, KQ and missed draws. The missed draws are not calling no matter what, very likely KQ is calling no matter what as well as KT and Kx calls some % of the time. Looking at this range you should be looking to be rather big as most of his range is calling bigger bets more often than not.

In this case a bet size of 40 is quite appropriate as the flush draw missed and it can be quite plausible that villain will look at the missed draws and big sizing thus bluff catching with Kx.

Villain obviously calls his two pair and now the pot is 128bbs. This is 41bbs extra to the original 87bb pot my student won. A 5bb/100 winrate means that’s 800 less hands you need to play!

Obviously bet sizing is not as simple as betting big when you have a good hand and smaller when you don’t but I wanted to just illustrate the importance of bet sizing in poker, how much it can affect your play and at the end of the day, your winrate!
Comments (4)
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Bruce Kehl 21 Mar, 2012
Free Member
Thanks, Johnathan.
Have you been checking out Stars new Zoom games (much like FT Rush)? Limits are super micro thru 25NL to 100NL. If so, any thoughts on most effective strats?
Goran - I'm happy if opponent has a flush draw and he ends up hitting which means we would lose a bigger pot. The aim in poker is getting our opponents to put in the most money when behind so by betting bigger although we lose more we have made profit in the long run by his bad call.

Bruce - Thanks for your comment. Yes it does add up. playing 25NL, $15 is 60bbs and thats a lot in terms of winrate.
Bruce Kehl 27 Jan, 2012
Free Member
Thanks for this ... i played a short FR 25NL session after having an afternoon nap, and knowing that i was still recovering from that fog, I played super tight even tho i had the best hand on at least 4 occasions: later reviewing my play in HM, i was able to count up having 'lost' at least $15 by being too tight in my street bet sizing. It DOES add up.
Goran Bax 27 Jan, 2012
Free Member
But it isn't allways 41bb right? There will be times when villain will be on FD and FD will hit and we will lose our hand. And in this scenario we will lose more, but stil this is right way to play, I just want to point out that :)
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