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What is Bet Sizing in Poker?

Home » Guides » What is Bet Sizing in Poker?

What is Bet Sizing in Poker?

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Bet sizing in poker is the determination of the bet that will be most likely to win the most amount of money in a given hand. Simply put, a player’s decision on the size of a bet should be based on factors that will help him or her maximize the win. 

New poker players often ask how to determine bet size, how to calculate a bet to fit a winning strategy. On a more basic level, they want to know what is considered a big bet and small bet in poker.

What Are Bet Sizes?

Overall, the main question is: What are bet sizes? That is a loaded question, actually, so let’s start from the beginning.

The ultimate goal in any poker hand is to maximize expected value (EV). While that can come in the form of the most ideal pot, there are more goals to be achieved by choosing the best bet size for any given situation.

The main goals a player can achieve with proper bet sizing are:

  • To build the most sizable pot and win it.
  • To control an opponent’s actions, prompting them to call, raise, or fold based on what is the most optimal way to win the hand.
  • To pull off a bluff.
  • To play the most beneficial strategy based on the various possible hand situations and opponents’ holdings.

How To Determine Bet Size

There are many things to factor in when determining the average bet size or optimal bet size. For newer players, there are several key things to consider:

  • Game (no limit, pot limit, fixed limit)
  • Hand strength
  • Stack sizes
  • Pot size
  • Position

At first glance, these factors may seem straightforward, but as players gain experience, they can put more thought into each of them. A player can calculate pot odds (the relation of the pot size to the bet size facing the player) or go further to look at implied odds (the chance of winning the pot based on opponents’ bets). There are effective stacks and bluffing possibilities, as well as calculating or estimating opponents’ ranges. 

As in any poker strategy, one’s position at the table plays a role in bet sizing, as do opponents’ actions that can be used to determine their ranges from various positions. 

Sometimes, the game itself will determine the range of bets possible, such as pot limit and fixed limit caps, which eliminates a part of the decision-making process. There are standard bet sizing methods for No Limit Texas Hold’em, of course, but experienced players can take strategies beyond the basics and bet sizing formulas to new levels. 

Cash games and tournaments require different bet sizing considerations. Game variations and modifications also play a role, such as straddles and bomb pots in cash game scenarios.

Common Poker Bet Sizing Questions

As poker players become more comfortable with the game and talk strategy at greater lengths, they start to abbreviate terms and assign nicknames to certain actions. It can be difficult for even seasoned players to keep up with the latest poker terminology

To cover this ground, let’s answer a few of the most common questions that players ask about bet sizing.

How Much is a Small Bet?

A small bet can refer to the big blind or minimum bet in a poker hand. 

In terms of post-flop strategy, a small bet is one that consists of about 25% to 50% of the pot. That percentage can go as high as 75% of a pot after the turn and/or river. 

What is Considered a Big Bet?

The big bet – or large bet – is generally double the size of the big blind or a standard bet in a poker hand. 

Post-flop strategy puts a big bet at 50% to 75% of the pot, while it can increase to a pot-size bet or more after the turn and/or river.

What Size is C-Bet in Poker?

A c-bet or C bet is a continuation bet, or a continuation of a betting pattern.

If a player raises preflop, he or she will often make a continuation bet after the flop, whether the flop benefited them or not. 

What Does 3 and 4-bet Mean? 

A three bet – sometimes written as 3-bet or 3bet, hyphen and space optional – is what used to be called an initial reraise. 

For example, in a Hold’em hand, Player A raises to twice the size of the big blind after seeing her hole cards. Player B wants to increase the bet and reraise, which is a three bet. Player B three bet the hand, and Player C now considers the three-bet pot.

A four bet – or a 4-bet, 4bet, or four-bet – is a re-reraise. It is the response of a raise to a three bet.

A five bet – or a 5-bet, 5bet, or five-bet – is yet another raise in response to a four bet.

How Do You Overbet a Pot?

An overbet is a bet of more than 100% of the pot, which can only happen in no-limit games.

What is a Total Bet Size?

This is the amount that a person must pay to call. If player one bets 100 and the next player raises it to 300 (200 more), the total bet size to the next player is 300. 

What is an Effective Stack?

This way of referring to a stack of chips totals the maximum amount that can be bet. 

If there are two stacks in play, the effective stack is the lower amount, put in big-blind form. For example, the smaller stack is 50bb, which means it’s 50bb effective. 

What is Board Texture? 

The texture of a board is its arrangement of cards, a way to describe the community cards.

A wet board is one that provides outs, either straight or flush opportunities or sometimes high cards. A dry board is one without connectors to make straights or flushes. An example of a wet flop might be K-Q-4 with two clubs, and a dry flop could be 9-5-2 of different suits. 

If the flop contains three different suits, it is considered a rainbow flop. And if an entire set of five community cards contains no more than two of any suit, it is a rainbow board.

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Breaking down bet sizing, one of the most important factors in poker strategy.