The beauty of Texas Hold’em poker is the cards are not the most important aspect of the game. It’s the bets. A good poker player does not need a good hand to win a pot. Sure, it helps and every player is trying to get the best hand they can. However, over the course of a good sit down, it’s your wagering that becomes the most important and when it comes to online poker, it’s even more important than that.
The online poker world is a much more literal place. Not being able to see your opponents means the only information you can glean from them is from their wagering. How they bet. When they bet. How much do they bet. And while you’re trying to figure them out, they’re doing the same to you. For all of these reasons, determining the correct bet size is vital, especially when playing online.
Traditionally speaking, there are three-bet sizes. You have small bets, which are about one quarter the pot. Then you have medium bets, which are about half the pot and, finally, you have overbets which are the whole pot or more. These are just the basics. Staying relative to the pot size is important to bet sizes.
The pot size becomes the measuring stick and as it grows, show should the stakes. The object is to win the pot after all so you must keep it growing. You’ll want to keep these basics in mind and stay close to these ratios to the pot as you play. Mixing them up is important yet you’ll want to adhere to these standards.
And Mix Them Up You Shall
Online poker players are looking for your habits since they can’t see your tells and money players become habitual standard bettors. They play small bets when they should. They play overbets when they should. After a few hands, everyone knows how you play because of how you wager.
Successful poker players mix this up by doing two things well: They stay near but never at those three bet sizes and they’ll switch up those bet sizes from time to time. The first move is easy to execute and doesn’t take much thinking. The second move is more important when it comes to throwing other players of your routines. You play big hands like small hands. Medium hands like big hands and if you’re a loose cannon, you play small hands big.
This takes more patience to execute well as if you vary too much, you’re no longer making calculated moves. You’re just throwing wagers around like a crazy person. Your goal is to use these two methods together to build a new narrative to your playing style. While you are actually playing very a straight and basic betting strategy, it will appear as if you are playing wild and willy-nilly. Remember, when you wager, you are advertizing you hand. It’s up to you to use this to your advantage.
It’s information we want to gain on others while giving as little as possible and nothing does this better than some well-timed overbets. Now, that doesn’t mean we bet big in order to solely gain information, it’s just a nice by-product. We gain much more value from big bets. If we feel we still have the best hand after the flop, which necessitated the overbet in the first place, we should continue to our betting to get the pot as big as we can. Are players folding to you? Are they raising? A well-timed overbet will bring many of your opponent habits to light and quickly.
The 2x Bet
For a more straightforward bet, a 2x bet preflop is a popular play amongst the pros. This is because it is a standard open and that doesn’t put many chips in the pot. It becomes routine enough to leave everyone guessing, making wager down the line more important and this is where the pros make their money.
However, there are a few drawbacks. For average players, the 2x open doesn’t help in building a good pot at the start. As stated, the pros make their money on the backend. Average players need to build from the open. Secondly, it leaves you liable to being reraised. If you feel confident in your game, maybe try the 2.2x-2.5x open. It is a fine in-between.
The 3x Bet
This a classic opening raise size and works well during the early rounds. In the beginning of a game or tournament, you are going to have a nice stack compared to the blinds so anything less isn’t really worth it. Playing tight and opening a decent range with at least a 3x raise will ensure that you aren’t ignoring the early blinds. As things progress, and you start to see the big blinds, it may not be possible to use the 3x raise and you can take it down a notch on your open.