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Playing too passively against opens by just calling and rarely 3-betting may be the biggest and most common mistake I see in low stakes games. It is hard to believe how frequently players flat opens with strong hands as opposed to 3-betting.
Whether it be to trap an opponent, or a fear of playing large pots, choosing not to 3-bet your stronger holdings is a mistake for several reasons. By 3-betting opening raises with strong hands, you will extract more value from your opponents by increasing the size of the pot early in the hand.
As demonstrated in the Aces example above, the equity of strong hands sharply decreases when there are multiple players in a hand. By 3-betting your strong hands, you are often able to isolate the original raiser and see a flop heads-up.
Consequently, the equity of your hand is preserved, and you increase the likelihood of having the best hand at showdown. AK has But what about a heads-up pot? There are a couple things to be aware of when 3-betting pre-flop. Flatting opens with a wide range can sometimes be reasonable from later positions, especially from the button.
Many players do not call enough from the big blind, in particular versus opens from the small blind. Given that you are last to act pre-flop, and will often be offered very good pot odds to take a flop, you can play much looser from the big blind than from other positions. Against this 2. You are guaranteed to act last post-flop from the button, which gives you an informational advantage over your opponents.
You are also able to put pressure on the blinds when action is folded to you, and can often steal dead money in the pot. However, many players tend to either raise too many hands on the button, or to not raise enough. A leak such as this one can slowly but continuously damage your win rate, so be cautious to not over-raise from the button. Note: This is more of a problem when playing online, as live players are typically less aggressive from the blinds.
Conversely, some players are too tight from the button. Failing to capitalize on these circumstances will certainly hurt your win rate. The looser and more likely to 3-bet the blinds are, the tighter you should open. If the blinds are nits unwilling to play pots, ramp up the aggression and steal that dead money! When it folds to you in the small blind you should often be raising. Many players fail to do this because of the unfavorable post-flop position the small blind is in.
However, there are two main reasons why raising from the small blind is a valuable strategy:. Many players choose to either limp some hands or play very tight in small blind versus big blind confrontations. These can be reasonable adjustments against some opponents, but raising often is a more effective baseline strategy. Many players also have a tendency to fold the button too frequently. Because of the value of acting last post-flop, you can justify taking a flop with a wide range of hands when given the right price.
This is especially relevant to live poker, as live players generally do not play so aggressively from the blinds. Playing too passively in the small blind is a very easy mistake to make. While it might seem reasonable to just call from the small blind because of improved pot odds, making it a habit is bad for a couple reasons:.
The player in the small blind should want to 3-bet their entire value range to build a pot and isolate the pre-flop raiser. For this reason, you should try to avoid calling in the small blind in most instances, and choose instead to 3-bet when appropriate.
When constructing your small blind 3-bet range, be sure to include some lighter hands like suited connectors to prevent the big blind from exploitatively folding their medium-strength holdings to your 3-bets. Employing this aggressive strategy has several benefits:. While that is a drastic oversimplification, Tony has a point. Players often overvalue weak, offsuit broadway holdings. This is especially dangerous from middle positions, where players raising before you can be expected to have a tighter range, and therefore stronger broadway holdings than you.
For this reason, it is better to play a hand like 98s over KJo in these situations; suited connectors will rarely be dominated, and can make nutted hands capable of winning big pots. This problem is more prominent in live games, where large opening sizes lead to excessively large 3-bets that get as big as 18—20BB compared with the 10—12BB seen online. Calling in these spots may also be an ego-related problem that happens when a player does not want to be perceived as weak at the table.
Against huge 3-bets, you are getting terrible pot odds to call. Check out the pot odds calculation against a standard 10BB 3-bet after we opened to 3BB:. Additionally, these larger bet sizes will define ranges and allow you to play your hand very profitably and more easily. If the player is an absolute calling-station like many players are in small stakes games, why not size your bets larger? Of course, you have to be careful when adopting an exploitative strategy like the one advocated above.
If you vary your bet sizing based on hand strength for example, betting small when you have air and larger when you have a made hand , observant opponents will pick up on this and adjust accordingly. The villain calls, and you go heads up to the flop. Typical poker wisdom is to downbet here , meaning to make a smaller bet than your original preflop raise.
Just like choosing a small post flop bet size, a downbet allows you to bet more often, be more balanced and keep your opponents guessing. Down betting is a sound approach from a game theory standpoint , which serves to balance your range against strong players an important factor as you move up in the ranks. Heftier serves two purposes: it gets more value from your opponent, who is likely to call with any pair regardless of your bet size, while also setting up the hand so you can get stacks all-in by the river.
Even if any bet size allows stacks to get in by the river, betting bigger on the flop essentially hangs your opponent, giving him the illusion that he is pot committed. This will make him more likely to pay you off on the end. When it comes to bet sizing against fish, you want to go exploitative to the max! Your read is that this player hates folding and loves to chase draws.
Calling quickly on a coordinated board is a classic example of a bet sizing tell. Typically this means that your opponent is weak. They almost always have hands that are obvious calls, which are usually weak pairs or draws. If they had something strong they would think about how to play it. Should they raise now or trap? This requires some careful thought which takes time. Furthermore, when players do have big hands they often act more slowly, careful not to give away an obvious bet sizing tell.
A helpful way to determine whether or not your opponent is giving off a bet sizing tell is think about how you would act in a similar situation. More than likely when you have a strong hand you take your time and consider your options. A prudent rule of thumb to not give away any bet sizing tells is to count to five before making any decision. Your strong read is that your opponent is on a flush draw. This is especially true since the turn is your last opportunity to get value from him.
A common situation you may find yourself in is with a mediocre hand on the river that wants to extract some value. Betting with marginal holdings is a classic example of a thin value bet. You have QJo on a final board of Jh 9s 3s 8d 3c. If your opponent will not check-raise-bluff on the river, why not get some value with a thin value bet? Instead of betting extremely small, had you bet half-pot or more, those hands probably would fold. That seemingly small river bet adds up over time.
Knowing when to overbet in poker is crucial if you want to develop an advanced strategy that makes your more difficult to play against. We recommend using 1. The flop comes down Ts Td 7d. The turn comes a Jd. You both check. If he had a strong hand on the turn such as trips, a straight, flush or full house , he would have surely bet.
These are otherwise known as hands that are at the bottom of your range, which are ideal candidates for overbetting. When choosing opportune situations to bluff, in particular to overbet, having blockers is useful because it makes it that much more likely your opponent will fold. This bet puts your opponent in an extremely difficult situation and allows you to apply max pressure.
For more strategy on how to size overbets, overbetting strategy and when to use overbets, check out these video resources. When it comes to poker bet sizing strategy there are no hard fast rules. The above guide is just a guideline. The best strategy is the one that maximizes your win rate in your specific game. If you liked this blog on poker bet sizing strategy and would like to fast track your progress, consider taking your game to the next level with our Membership Program. One good decision pays for your entire tuition.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article on Poker Bet Sizing Strategy. Please share it with a friend if you enjoyed it. Cheers, Alec. Search anytime by typing. What do I mean by that? Therefore, the situation warrants a bet from you as the preflop raiser. Poker Bet Sizing Strategy. How does the frequency of our betting relate to our poker bet sizing strategy? Betting small like in the situation above accomplishes two key purposes: 1.
Bet Sizing Strategy and Tips. Value Betting Strategy Value betting is probably one of the most important, if not the most important skill you need to have when playing poker, especially in cash games. The mistake is raising too small. Rule 1: Bet relative to the pot. Rule 2: Bet more often.
Thankfully this is one of the easier areas of the game to understand. We have to decide what to do: we can raise, call otherwise known as a limp or fold. But I will try to cover the most fundamental factors in the coming paragraphs. They believe that they can outplay their opponents post-flop and turn a profit even with the weakest hands. Thus the first preflop poker strategy tip is to play only a small percentage of the hands you are dealt — the type of hands to play will be discussed further on in the text.
The vast majority of winning poker players are relatively tight, and for the most part, losing players are loose. Therefore, the first important poker strategy tip :. Preflop Poker Strategy Tip 1: Only play a small percentage of the hands you are dealt.
So our options are now to raise or to call because our hand is too strong to fold. Limping is defined as calling the big blind instead of raising or folding. Often, new players limp to see a cheap flop with speculative hands or to trap with strong hands such as AA or KK. Good winning players very rarely limp and there are many reasons why:. Since limping i. That poses the question of how much? But first, a little more on aggression to drive home the point:.
However, calling with some hands after someone else has raised is fine. There are some situations where open limping is a good idea but they are so few and far between that never limping is a good starting preflop poker strategy — especially for a beginner. Unfortunately, when a player is passive there is only one way to win the pot — by having the best hand. This difference is hugely important and is the reason all big winners are aggressive poker players; while most losing poker players are quite passive.
Preflop poker strategy Tip 3: Take the initiative and be aggressive. So what hands should you play? There are very few premium hands in poker but when we do get these hands we should be trying to build a pot as big as possible and as quickly as possible. These hands are:. AK is considered to be a powerful hand because:. Strong hands are hands you should also always be raised when first entering the pot. These hands should be called when someone has already raised before you.
These hands include:. Large suited and connected hands such as QJs, JTs, are also considered strong hands. Suited hands derive their strength from being able to make flushes. However, do not overestimate the value of suited hands. The value of a hand is derived from the combination of the ranks of the two hole cards.
You need to be careful of this hand type. Medium suited connectors such as 87s are also considered to be medium-strength hands. If all you take from this section is these four points you will still have significantly improved your chances of winning. Postflop, there are many factors which we must take into account before we make a decision.
The number of variables makes each decision quite complicated for a beginner. Secondly, we should be considering what our opponent may be holding. Does our opponent have only strong hands if he is a tight player? But it is important as a new player to begin thinking about what your opponent may have.
Postflop poker strategy Tip 1: Always consider what your opponent could be holding. Next, we should consider the board texture. For example, is the board likely to have improved your hand or your competitors? Is the board likely to change very much on the turn or river?
Another consideration is how many players made it to the flop. If the flop is heads up only you and your opponent the strength of each hand is much better than if five or even six people made it to the flop. The more players that see the flop, turn, and river the less likely you are to win a showdown with a weak holding such as one pair. For more information on the differences between multiway and heads up pots, head over to pokernews. Before we discuss post-flop poker strategy and board composition in detail, we need to make sure the notation is clear to everyone.
In some cases, pictures will be used to show board textures, but often just text will be employed. When describing the board with text i. To take an example, the board:. It is sometimes shortened further to 5K5r. When the flop has a flush draw i. There are many types of boards, but in general, they can be broken down into two types: dry board textures and wet board textures.
Why are these boards considered dry? The most important factor is that neither of these two board has many straight-draw or flush-draw possibilities. The lack of draws means that if you have a hand like A5 on the K55 board or 44 on the board you are very unlikely to be beaten by your opponent if he is behind on the flop. Looking at the QT9s board, there are many cards which will modify the strength of many hands. Also, there are many hand types that your opponent may have hit this board with:.
On the s board, however, every Ace has an inside straight draw. Every other board type will be somewhere in between the dry K55r and the wet QT9s. Understanding how wet or dry a board is and adjusting your strategy correctly is the key skill at play in this scenario. For more information on board textures, see this excellent article. A continuation bet, as its name suggests, is when you follow up on your previous aggressive action with another bet. For example, you raise pre-flop and then continue to bet on the flop.
Continuation bets are extremely useful postflop poker strategy for two reasons:. The rate at which you continuation bet should be, on a very basic level, determined by the wetness of the board. The dryer the board, the less likely your opponent hit and therefore the more often we will want to bet so that we can take down the pot. But we should also be more prone to bet when we have a chance to win the pot when called.
In other words, we have pot equity in the form of a draw or overcards. We opened to 3bb from UTG and got one call from the Button. On the flop of 9h7s3s, we have an inside straight draw and two overcards. Thus this is a good spot for a cbet as a bluff. We expect him to fold hands which are better than ours. If you decide that you are going to enter the pot, you should be looking to make a raise of about 3 or 4 times the size of the big blind. By making a minimum raise you are letting opponents with marginal hands come in cheaply, and you are almost defeating the object of making a preflop raise.
The idea of a preflop raise is to reduce the amount of players who follow you to see a flop, as it is easier to make profitable decisions when there are fewer players in the pot. So make sure to come in with a strong 3 or 4 BB raise, and increase the size of the raise if you find that a lot of players are still calling these raises with marginal hands or if other players have limped in before you.
If there has been a raise before you, you must now consider whether you should fold, call or raise. If you have a poor or marginal starting hand you should look to fold. If you have a good starting hand like the ones mentioned above you should be happy to call and see a flop. If you have one of the top starting hands like AA or KK, should re-raise to help try and get as much money into the pot as possible.
There will be a few cases where limping-in will be an acceptable play. This will normally be when there have been a number of other players limping-in before you, and so you will have better odds to see a flop. The best hands to limp in with are strong drawing hands such as suited cards with an ace or king, or any connecting cards that can make a straight. You are not looking to make top pair in these limped multi-way pots, as they can often land you in trouble. So aim to play hands that can land you a very strong holding or a strong draw, and then comfortably fold on the flop if neither of these materialize.
If you are playing in a shorthanded game such as a 6-max table, you can afford to reduce your starting hand requirements so that you can see more flops. If you stick to the starting hand requirements mentioned above, you would probably find that you are folding too often and missing out on opportunities to win money. When making your decision pre flop, you should also consider the type of players who you are playing against. If you notice that a tight player has made a raise, it is likely that they have a very strong hand, so you should re-evaluate the strength of your cards in this hand.
Similarly, if a loose player makes a raise, it is more likely to be profitable to be call with a decent hand as you could well be holding a stronger hand than them. It is important to not be afraid about making bets or raises before the flop.
It is important to be aggressive in poker , as it is a winning style that all good players adopt. If you are afraid to make bets and raises when you should be, then you will be making unprofitable decisions and you will find it hard to ever win money from the game.
To help accustom yourself to being aggressive, you could try dropping down in limits where there is less money at stake, so that you can become comfortable with playing aggressively and notice the advantages of an aggressive style over a weak playing style. SwC Poker is my favourite room to play at. It has the worst players you can find online right now. You need to get some bitcoin to play here, but it's worth it. Accepting players from: Russia.
Preflop overview. Preflop starting hand selection. Preflop position strategy. Preflop bet sizing.
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