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Sports & Gaming

Bet Sizing

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 7:05 min

Daniel explains the subtle art of bet sizing and teaches you how to maximize value while minimizing risk.

Daniel Negreanu
Teaches Poker
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So what exactly is a value bet? Now a value bet, traditionally, is something that you think of on the river, the flop, the turn, or something along those lines. But, essentially, every bet you make is going to be a value bet before the flop. So when you raise with aces before the flop, you're making a bet hoping to attain some value from your opponents. Now on the flop when you feel like you have the best hand, and you want your opponent to call, that would be a value bet. The opposite of that would be a bluff. And somewhere in the middle is betting on the come, a situation where you have a draw where you're looking to either hit the hand or win the pot with a fold. Now, on the river, you're pretty much down to just two options. You're either value betting or you're bluffing. And you want to be clear about what you're doing. A lot of times, I see players in a pot on the river where they have bottom pair, and they're like-- they bet. And they're not really sure what they're doing. They're like, are you betting that is a bluff? Are you betting that because you want your opponent to call? You should always be well aware before you make a bet is this a value bet or is this a bluff. There's no such thing as a value bluff. OK? You might hear that term. I was value bluffing. No, you weren't. You just didn't know what you were doing. What you've noticed over the last 10, 15 years is bet sizing has gone way, way down on really dry boards, and there's a clear reason for this. So when a board like, again, the dry boards that we described, like Ace, 7, deuce or deuce, deuce, 3 or queen, 6, deuce, something along those lines, on those very dry boards, your opponent is either going to hit or they're going to miss. So, essentially, this is a small ball sort of situation where if a small bet works the same as a larger bet, generally speaking, because both of you are not going to have much, the smaller sizing is going to work. And we've seen a further extreme of that where players are really downsizing because, again, there's not a lot of fear or worry about your opponent drawing out on you. There's no draw there. It's ace, 7, deuce. They either have the best hand, or you have the best hand. There's not going to be a situation where it's like 8, 9, 10 with two spades. That's a very draw heavy board where a lot of turn cards can come to cost you the pot. On an ace, 7, deuce, there's not many turn cards that are going to be very, very scary on a board like that. As we've already established, I mean, after the flop, you're usually not going to have a really strong hand. If you have ace, king, you're big underdog to actually flop a pair. You're going to have nothing more often than not. So because of that, when you are c-betting, you're generally going to be c-betting with the hopes of actually winning the pot right there. So let's say, for example, you raise with jack, nine of Hearts on the button and the flop comes king, 7, deuce. We'll use t...

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Bet size on a raise preflop. SB 50 BB 100 I'm in middle position +1 UG limp middle position call, i want to raise which it's the correct raise? 300 because the BB size or 300+100UG+100 MP= 500. thank you

Hubert S.

So, when we talk about bet sizing, are we talking about the actual value (in cash games where blinds are the same), or are we talking about the bet size in reference to the eBB (bet x bb), or we talking about the same size best on the % of the pot?? (24%, 50%, etc.)

Steve W.

so there are a couple of aspects I am seeing in this, dry vs wet boards, size small on dry and size big on wet boards. Stay consistent on the sizing of those boards at the same time. Am i correct in this assumption of what Daniel is saying?

Francis F.

I may sound redundant here if you've read some of my posts in this thread, but the idea here is to find a bet size, preflop, that will minimize the number of opponents. the more OPs the more opportunity your hand will be beat by the River. Therefore, I've come up with this mantra, a small pot won quickly is more valuable than a large pot lost on the river. Of course, there will be those rare occasions where you flop the stone cold nuts and are lucky enough to have a multiway pot. But I can also guarantee you that in most of those situations, you will either not see the river, if you're too aggressive, or the pot will be small because you need to check to let someone improve enough to venture a bet you can be aggressive against.

Mike M.

All great teachings Daniel you actually do a great job of explaining, really feel this is worth every penny of this. Pass. Heck I am only 1/3 of the way through. Really looking forward to the other 2/3 ;-)

Owen F.

he consistently advises using twitch to watch a skilled player play. can anyone tell me how twitch works? do i need an account to do this, does it cost money? twitch is live streaming, but surely players cant show us live online play or else there could be collusion?

A fellow student

One question outside of this topic (If I can) - I play online poker much more than live poker. I normally get some kind of bad beat online daily. Yet when I watch televised poker the commentators seem to go crazy when a bad beat happens. Is that just for show or is it much less common in big live tournaments to end up in bad beat situations? I'm not taking about bad luck because I don't believe in that. I really do mean bad beats . For instance pockets kings or aces being beaten by a flush when only one of the suit was showing after the flop and the correct bid given after the flop.

Brandon E.

How do you like to adjust your preflop sizing based on the number of players involved? For example, my standard open is 2.5x, but if 1 or more players have already limped, I'll bump it up to account for it. I'd say I'll usually add about 1x for each limper. How do you like to handle that?

William B.

When playing against average players, you can use bet sizing to your advantage. They often think a bigger bet means a better hand. This is very useful if you want a call with a good hand, just be careful using it if you don't have a good hand and want to appear to. I have learned I need to go much bigger to do this and will normally only do it one time per outing.

Roger W.

Most people concider three times the big blind a standard raise , but if I always get to many callers ,then I have to increase my raise size until I have only one or two callers.