In the last chapter, I provided you with a basic theoretical approach to betting. Now I will discuss specific bet sizing strategies for varying hand strengths with the goal providing for you a simple system that is easy to implement. I will show you how to quickly weigh all of the information available once the flop comes down and create a plan for the rest of the hand with the intention of maximizing profit. You will learn how to get away from a “one size fits all” betting style and move toward a much more expectation-oriented strategy.
Among the biggest mistakes that I witness at the tables is in the amount of money your average player bets on each street. Typically, most people either bet way too small or over-commit themselves unnecessarily with all the wrong holdings. Bet sizing in relation to the effective stack affects how the hand will play on later streets. It tells a story to opponents, manipulates them into doing what you want to do, and accomplishes whatever plan was established for the hand. Betting the wrong size on the flop can constrict your play in one way or another for the rest of the hand.
Since the strategies in this book have you playing a stack of between 15 and 40 big blinds, you will need to use a different betting strategy than you would as a full-stacked player. Commitment is much more black and white, and it is generally much easier to process information as a short stack. This is because most of the time you are either committed, or you aren’t. Either you want to get all-in, or you don’t.
When deciding on a betting strategy for a specific hand, you must consider the strength of your holding, the board texture, the effective stack size, and your opponent’s tendencies. Hand strength determines how much money you want to commit on any street based on how quickly you want to get all-in (if at all) and whether or not you want action. Board texture is of great importance, as it regulates both how fast you want to play strong hands and how likely you are to get value from weaker made hands. It also has a great influence on the success rate of your bluffs.
Once the strength of your hand determines how to proceed and the texture of the board tells you how fast to play, the actual bet sizing is the easy part. The effective stack establishes the size of your bets throughout the hand. Your opponent’s style of play can also cause you to adjust your chosen line and bet size if he has a specific extreme tendency that is exploitable in one way or another. Once you gain experience, you will become able to incorporate many more read-based factors into each decision. I will cover a few of those adjustments in Chapter 15, but for now, we will solely focus on hand strength, effective stack sizes, and board textures as part of a default betting strategy.
This chapter will teach you about:
- Building big pots with big hands
- Keeping pots small with marginal hands
- Using board textures to plan your betting strategy
- Sizing post-flop raises and reraises