Poker Strategy - Calculating Bet Size

Calculations of bet and bid sizes are the hardest thing to do in poker.  The results can very tremendously on the amount of a bet and the recourse can be huge.  When it comes down to it the bet forces a player to do two things: calculate the actual amounts of money and then try to assess the outcome based on player’s table image and the tables overall general attitude.  All that needs to be accomplished in your head and it must happen in seconds or less.  Most players subconsciously do accomplish this and readily accept this part of poker life; however they often do not do it fully or completely each and every hand.

The size of bets is an indicator, of what you have, to the rest of the table.  Simple as that may be, the element of the bet also can be used for deception as well as truth.  This perception of your bet is where table image and table attitude come into play.  Determining how your opponents will accept and percept your bet is a rough and important decision.  It is a decision that can have several goals: perhaps you want your opponent to fold, perhaps to chase you, or even the bet is a test of your opponents own strength.  With each optional tactic there is a different approach.

For a bid hoping to scare an opponent off the traditional strong handed bet is the standard situation.  However if you feel your opponent may bet himself a check raise strategy can be implemented this often has a bit more of a psychological hit that goes along with it and the result is often more appealing than the straight up large bet right out of the gates.

Underbets are often used when trying to lure other players to chase them however be warned when using them.  Occasionally players will try to represent a hand that is so weak that it should certainly not be at the table, drastic underbetting like this can definitely alert a good player to something fishy.  Again a check raise can be used here as well especially if they are the kind of player that finds it harder and harder to fold after investing any amount of money.

Traditionally test bets should be on the smaller end of the spectrum unless you think you do in-fact have a good hand, however the option to lose the money should stay at the fore-front of a players thought when trying to test their opponent.

All these little styles players should become familiar with and when they do they will be readily able to counter them.  Players should also always be vigilante when it comes to the size of the bet because that can very easily dictate the reaction a bet will invoke.

Written by Christine Davies

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