How to know the right bet size in poker tournaments – Pre-flop

One of the biggest rookie mistakes a poker player can make is to not know how to size their bets properly when playing at an action-filled poker tournament! If you let your opponents think that you do not know how to bet properly in a poker tournament, then they will almost try and eat you alive at the table (figuratively).

Placing wrong bets makes players emerge as the easiest targets in the table. That is because sizing bets in the correct manner is elemental when it comes to creating your image at the poker table. Now if you are planning to head over to the nearby casino or simply log in on a gaming website to play poker online for fun against complete strangers who are out to take your money, then have a look at this quick guide on bet sizing.

Note this guide will cover only bet sizes in the pre-flop round, i.e. before any cards open on the board. When the poker game begins each player is given a set of two cards that they keep to themselves, then there is a round of betting preluding the opening of three cards on the table which is called as the flop. Then after consecutive betting round two more cards open at the turn and river rounds, followed by declaration of a winner who takes the pot. This is the simplest form of explanation of what goes on in a poker game, but variations to this may often occur based on the situation at the table.

How to bet in pre-flop round:

Understanding the 2x bet:

A 2x open in a pre-flop round which is also known as a mini-raise is quite popular amongst the top tier of poker players and there are many reasons for that. But opening with the minimum can also invite certain problems, like the following:

  • If you only put in the minimum raise, then the pot does not have much added to it in terms of number of chips. So, if you win with a good hand at flop, you will not make as much!
  • The biggest danger with this raise is that it leaves room for other players to re-raise you further.
    Minimum-raise at the pre-flop with only marginal hands wherein you cannot call a three-bet with is a major downer and leak in your gameplay, which is why we recommend that you stick with larger opens only.

3x bets:

This was for a long time the standard opening raise amount and also quite frequently works in the early stages of a tournament. If you regularly play poker online against friends, then this bet size works great with newbies and will win you hefty amounts of cash. Often during the first few levels, one’s stack remains relatively much larger than the blinds in play, so it usually does not make much sense if you open for any less. While it may often seem like a good idea to play a little loose during the opening stages and just call most bets pre-flop in the hope of contributing to a large pot size for you to bag at the river. But playing tight and opening with a sizeable range of at least 3x raise sends a clear message to other players that you are not ignoring these early blind levels. However, as the tournament goes on to progress and you gravitate towards the 25-35 big blind levels, it will get difficult to open every hand with a handsome 3x raise, and this is when most poker pros shift their gears down a little.

When to bet 2.2x to 2.5x:

Now if you are serious about this game of skill and want to learn how to walk the roads like a pro, then take a look at this unusual betting strategy. Usually these pro-like opens range between 2.2x to 2.5x, the final number depends on the player though.

Beginning from the middle to the later stages of the tournament, there will be different kinds of stack sizes seated along with you at your table, usually they are – a big stacker who has well enough to move on to the next level, a short stacker who is looking keenly for a double-up to sneak his way into the game, and a few who are in the sweet middle-ground with medium stacks that seem comfortable for the time being!

For the short stackers, who do not have enough to make all-ins at pre-flop, also do not have enough chips to open with 3x and then fold, but they may still want to dabble with a raise this is good call. Also for those with monster stacks who want to make it appealing for their opponents to call with an open and not scare them off, this is the bet size to go with. The bet of 2.2x to 2.5x times the big blind amount is the perfect size for both stack sizes and works in your favor when it comes winning at the river!

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