A lot of players have problems with correct bet sizing. As soon as you learn how to size your bets correctly, you will be able to maximize your wins.

Generally, you bet for two reasons. Either you bet for value, when you think you have a stronger hand than your opponent and you wish to take his chips – as many as possible. Or you want to force your opponent to fold his hand. This is called bluffing.

How to size your bets

Before you make any raise or bet, you have to pay attention to the current size of the pot. The size of your bet, that is the amount you bet into the pot, determines what pot odds your opponents are getting. Pot odds is the ratio of the cost of calling to the actual pot size. Opponents have two options, they can make a call with the correct odds or incorrect odds. With the second option, we get value because they are making a mistake.

Pot odds is the ratio of the cost of calling to the actual pot size.

That is why we need to size our bet correctly because then we make sure that our opponent can make a mistake when calling. As long as he makes a call with bad odds, we are winning money.

Bet sizing in cash games

In cash games, the most important bets happen before the flop. Your standard opening should be around 3BB +1BB for every limper in the pot.

Limper is a player who do not raise higher than 1BB (1 big blind).

3-bet is when after the first bet comes a raise and then someone wants to re-raise.

Your 3-bets should be about 3x the initial raise. More about 3-bets here

Bet sizing in tournaments

In tournaments, it is important to risk the smallest possible amount of chips. From the beginning, you play the same as in cash game, but when the blinds go up, you want to make your preflop sizing smaller.

You may want to make your opening 2 – 2,5BB. Your standard 3-bet could be around 2,5x the initial raise.

In the late level 2BB opening is perfectly fine.

After the flop

After the flop, you count chips in the pot, then you bet anywhere from 50% to 100% of the pot. But first, you need to look at the pot and see how big it is.

If you are the player who only just starts playing poker, I would recommend using two simple bet sizes:

  • The first one should be about 50% of the pot
  • The second one could be 70% of the pot

At first, I would strongly recommend using sizing like this. But don’t worry, as soon as you gain more practice, you will be able to experiment more with the sizing.

What is the most important thing about bet sizing?

  • Always bet only the minimum amount that you think that is necessary to make your opponent fold when you are bluffing.
  • Try to bet the maximum amount that you think your opponent will call when you are value betting.