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How Much Should I Bet or Raise?

How Much Should I Bet or Raise?
By Ryno of

One of the conflicts that often goes through a poker player's mind is how much to bet or raise. Was that too much to get a call? Was that not enough to make everyone fold? That's where math comes into play.

In a No Limit Holdem tournament, a standard raise is generally three to four times the big blind. But there's a simple way to calculate how much to raise in all situations.

Before the flop, if you want to raise with no callers before you, raise four times the big blind. For example, if the blinds are 100/200, you would raise it to 800.

If there are limpers ahead of you, add those calls to the amount you raise. If the blinds are 100/200 and there are two callers ahead of you, it would be 800 + 200 + 200 for a raise of 1,200. The standard raise is four times the big blind, which would be 800. There are two callers of 200 each, so you would add 200 twice to 800 for a total of 1,200. If there were five callers, the raise would be 1,800. If there was one caller, it would be 1,000.

If you are re-raising someone's raise, multiply the raise by three. If there is a caller to the raise, add that to your re-raise. For example, the blinds are 100/200 and someone raises it to 800. Nobody calls the 800 and it comes around to you. Re-raise it to 2,400. But if one guy calls the 800 before you, you would re-raise it to 3,200 because it's 2,400 plus 800. If two people call the 800, the re-raise would be 4,000. Let's say two players call the big blind and another guy raises it to 800, the re-raise still would only be 2,400 because the first two players didn't call the 800 raise.


It's important to keep your raises at or around these amounts. You don't want to raise too little with a big hand like AA and have a weak hand call you and hit two pair on the flop or have too many callers. When you have a monster hand, you only want one or two other players to call, so you have to raise large enough to filter out the bad hands. Pocket aces is a great hand to go heads up with. But if four or five other players are in the hand, there's a good chance one of those other hands will make a better hand than just a pair of aces on the flop. If you are raising with a marginal hand, you want to raise enough to make it believable that you have a strong hand. If you raise too little, someone could sense weakness and re-raise you. At that point, you would likely fold and be wasting chips.

After you raise pre-flop, the flop comes out and you're ready to bet. How much is a normal amount to bet now? Let's say there are 2,000 chips in the pot and you have top pair, so you're confident you have the best hand and you want to bet. A standard amount would be between 2/3 and of the pot. A good bet here with a draw-heavy board would be 1,500. This percentage of the pot could also be applied on the turn and the river. There's nothing wrong with betting more than that if you want your opponent to fold, but betting around of the pot is a good bet when you know you have the best hand but you want to get paid off. If someone bets into you after the flop comes and you want to raise, use the same strategy as re-raising before the flop by betting three times the other player's raise. If there are 3,000 chips in the pot and your opponent bets 2,000 chips, a standard raise would be 6,000.

Never bet half of your chips or more without going all-in. If you want to bet half of your chip stack, just go all-in. If you're willing to bet that much, you should be willing to risk all of your chips. If you're beat, you're beat, but there's no sense wasting half of your chips and hanging onto the other half. Put your chips in the middle and try to take down a large pot.

Knowing how many chips to put out there is an important part of being a good tournament poker player. It's important to be consistent so that your opponent can't tell by your bets what type of hand you have. Too small of a raise or bet could signal weakness. Too large of a raise or bet could look like a bluff. Betting the right amounts will make you a stronger tournament player.

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