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How much to bet

I see a lot of players who are rather new to online poker and come to me and ask me the same question all the time. How much should I bet and when should I bet.

There’s definitely no exact answer and there’s a lot of great players who bet a lot of different ways. In poker like in most games you must develop your own style that you feel comfortable with and build up from there. In online poker the rule number one is to be aggressive, so the answer to the question when you should bet is as often as possible. Practice and see for yourself your comfort level, but do not fall in the trap of playing passively, a sure recipe for not making money.

As for how much to bet, here are some basic guidelines that can help you develop your betting style.

Try to bet according to the size of the pot. I often bet somewhere around 2/3 of the pot, this is my benchmark. Around this level, I may bet more or less depending on the circumstance. For example if I know my opponent is very aggressive I may start my betting at a lower level, such as 60% of the pot. Or if there is an obvious draw, I may bet 100% of the pot or even 125% (overbetting) sometimes so that calling with that draw is a clear bad play.

Adjust your bet sizes when the blinds get high. It is usually not advised to min-raise pre flop, but once the blinds are expensive in a large multi-player tournament, it can actually be a fairly large raise, sufficient to produce its result.

Make your bet size consistent. If you make the same size bets and raises, with good hands, bad hands, bluffs, you will be much harder to read. What the top poker pros do is that they will change their bet size depending on their position, not on the strength of their hand. Bet more early to discourage callers who will have the positional advantage over you post flop, but bet less in late position as you can open-bet with weaker hands and use position to your own advantage.

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 online poker