No Limit Poker Bet Sizing

One of the required skills for Texas Holdem No Limit play is betting/raising the proper amount for each situation. (I’ll always use bet as an example, but the same reasoning applies to raises.) How to bet in Texas Holdem – bet the proper amount the simplest approach would be; to bet big when you have a good hand and to bet small when you have a poor hand. > Read More

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How to bet in texas holdem

The major advantage of Texas holdem no limit poker over Limit is the ability to manipulate the pot odds. So, it only follows that the best basis for sizing the bet is the size of the pot in No limit Poker bet sizing.
In its simplest form, when playing no limit poker, recommended by some experts, simply bet the size of the pot.
If you bet the size of the pot, you are always offering a single opponent 2:1 on his money. Betting the size of the pot every time, regardless of the hand; nuts, draw or bluff, disguises your hand and builds the pot, but it can be expensive when bluffing. Additionally, when betting a draw, you offer yourself only 2:1 odds, instead of the 4:1 or 5:1 that you would prefer. Talking about texas holdem no limit bet sizing – If you have the nuts, you can’t use a smaller sized value bet because that would quickly develop into an exploitable pattern. Using this approach has varied play built in and is excellent for the beginner who should only be peddling the nuts and not making fancy plays.

No limit bet sizing

Betting a percentage of the pot, ranging from 30% to 200% of the pot is a good adaptation of the pot sized bet. You can bluff, bet your draws, for a smaller amount, and use more call-able value bets with the nuts.
You can actually manipulate the texas holdem no limit bet sizing to give yourself the proper pot odds for your hand.
If you have a good hand you use pot sized or slightly larger bets to punish everyone on a draw, since the pot size bet offers them only 2:1.
If you are on the draw you can bet 30% of the pot and give yourself 4:1 pot odds. Your bluffing cost is reduced by 60% and many opponents will call a small value bet into a large pot, when you have the nuts. If you elect to use this method of bet sizing you must make a conscious effort to vary your play or you can easily fall into a pattern, detectable by your opponents. When you bet the pot every time your play is varied automatically because you bet every hand exactly the same way. Since you can’t simply bet small withdraws and bluffs, but bet large with made hands, you have to vary your play in other ways.

This chart is simply an example of no limit bet sizing. There are many ways to adjust it based on position and the actual size of the pot at the time of the bet.

Hand POT <1/2 POT >3/4 POT >5/4 POT
8 out draw
50%
35%
14%
1%
12 out draw
25%
50%
20%
5%
Made hand
10%
20%
50%
10%
Nuts
*
20%
60%
20%
Bluff
40%
50%
10%

* You should check/call with nuts only if you think there will be a subsequent bet so you can reraise, or check-raise.

Basing your bet in no limit poker on the stack size is another method of selecting your bet and is simply a modification of betting a percentage of the pot size. Instead of betting 1/2 the pot, you bet 1/2 the stack. This is best used when stack sizes are very large compared to the pot size and implied odds have become more important than pot odds. If both you and your opponent have stacks of €1000 and the pot is only €5, a pot sized bet is insignificant for a good drawing hand. You also need a good read on your opponent, or you need to hold the nuts. When you have the nuts, your goal should be, to get 100% of your opponent’s stack. A chart based on stack size should be more conservative, unless you have a special situation, (You are short stacked in a tournament.) and might look something like this.

Hand CALL <15% stack ~50% stack >75% stack
8 out draw
85%
10%
5%
0%
12 out draw
75%
15%
5%
5%
Made hand
10%
30%
20%
10%
Nuts
20%
60%
20%
Bluff
60%
35%
5%

When dealing with stacks instead of the size of the pot, you prefer to keep the pot very small until you have a made hand, and you don’t want to reopen betting for possible re-raises that you cannot call in texas holdem no limit bet sizing.

Texas holdem no limit bet sizing

Finally basing your bet size on the big blind. I’m not a big fan of this strategy for a couple of reasons: After the flop, the size of the blinds is meaningless. In most cases before the flop, a pot sized bet is roughly equal to three big blinds anyway. The one exception is during tournament play from late position with several limpers and a marginal hand, I might raise 3xBB instead of the pot. This raise is cheaper, and many tournament players will automatically put you on a big pair or A-K. This bet disguises my hand and often they will check to me after the flop. Of course, everything in poker is situational and not only will you change your bet sizing strategy for each game and relative stack sizes, you might change it based on your opponent. You might even change it during the hand. Preflop if the pot is small, it might work to simply bet the size of the pot, but after you flop the nuts, a switch to relative stacks might provide the most profit. So much of the situation depends upon the willingness of your opponent to fold to a bet and the strength of his hand.

How to bet in texas holdem – One final note – I know that I often harp on never saying “always” or “never,” (and meaning it), and this discussion brings up one of those situations, that illustrates why you shouldn’t use those terms. If you are the last to act, holding the nuts against a player who will call a bet all-in, you might consider checking and leaving him money, if the game is very good but apt to break-up if he busts out.