When it comes to choosing a size for your bet in No Limit Hold’em, it’s not always easy. You have to pay a lot of attention to the specific circumstances that you face. Such factors as board texture, stack depth, the action pre-flop and which person holds the range advantage are all things to consider. Let’s talk about three rules that you can use to help you pick the right size for your bet.
Bet small (a quarter to a third of the pot) on board textures that are static and dry
When you bet on the flop and the turn, you take your opponents’ equity away when they decide to fold. This means that you steal their opportunity to win the pot by making them fold with your own bet.
If you’re not as focused on taking away equity, you have a greater incentive to use smaller bet size. When boards are drier, the majority of the other hands at the table have negligible equity, if any, against the value betting range that you have identified.
One more reason to use a small bet size when boards are dry is that the calling range on a dry board tends to lack elasticity. Think about this way – in this situation, your opponent is likely to fold to a bet no matter how big the bet is. If you can get away with a small bluff and make opponents fold, why add to the risk by making the bluff larger?
Also, if you use a smaller bet size, you can take advantage against players that use the “fit or fold” style post-flop and end up folding too often. You can use this especially when playing live or in a weaker online game.
Bet large (half to three-quarters of the pot) on board textures that are dynamic and wet
If you think that someone could outdraw your value betting range, then it’s time to bet big. If you have a strong hand, betting large helps you grow the pot. You’ll pull out more value before the turn or the river, when your hand could just turn into a bluff-catcher. You’ll also build more fold equity, which makes your bluffs in the future more likely to work.
Consider the stack-to-pot ratio when deciding on your bet size
How big will the pot be on later streets? A lot of players bet too much at the flop and the turn, and so they end up with a small bet left for the river. At this point, bluffing won’t do much for them, because at that point a small bet does not generate meaningful fold equity. Going somewhat aggressively on the flop and then pulling back slightly at the turn allows for more leverage once you hit the river. That sort of approach will generate the sort of fold equity that you want, and will make your bluffs pay off more regularly. The bottom line is that you don’t want your stack to run dry at the wrong time, especially when you have a solid hand.
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