finally just about ready to wrap this up. As usual, it was more
work than I expected and took more words and more posts than I had
Bet sizingWe've looked at when to call bets relative to your draws, and I mentioned briefly how terrible small bets are since they give anyone with draws the proper odds to call. We need to look at the other side; how to size your bets so as to give you opponent the incorrect odds to call. Essentially this is just the inverse of pot odds calculations.
You are in the big blind. One limper calls $10, the small blind folds. You check your K9 and the flop comes K65. You have top pair with a so-so kicker. Immediately you should see that there is a spade flush draw as well as possible straight draws with the 65. If you bet too small, you will give your opponent the correct odds to call. You know the flush draw is 4.2 to 1 to hit on the turn, and the open ended straight draw is 4.9 to 1. The flush draw has better odds, so if you give the flush draw incorrect odds you will also give him incorrect pot odds in case he has the OESD.
How much do you bet to make it incorrect for your opponent to call if he has a flush draw? The pot is $35. A standard bet here might be 1/2 pot, so bet $20. If you do so, the pot becomes $55 and your opponent has to put in $20 to continue. This means he has 55/20 odds, or 2.75 to 1 odds, not enough for either the flush draw or the straight draw. What if he happens to have the flush draw and one card is the A? That gives him 12 outs, requiring 2.9 to 1 odds; still not enough. What about the if he's holding the 78? In that event he has 9 flush outs plus three 4s and three Ts for 15 outs and 2.1 to 1 odds to continue. To make it incorrect for him to call, you have to bet the pot, $35, to give him $70 to $35 odds or 2 to 1. In reality it's very unlikely that this or some other straight/flush combination this strong is what he is holding, and if so he's probably not going to fold no matter how much you bet.
Notice that the larger you bet, the larger the pot becomes, but that the ratio of the pot odds does not increase as fast as you increase your bet size is increasing. A 10% pot sized bet gives off 11 to 1 odds, a 50% pot sized bet gives 3 to 1 odds, but a 100% pot sized bet only brings the odds down to 2 to 1.
Styles and hands
- Player Style descriptions
- Tight/Aggressive style
- Starting Hands
- Playing the flop
- Playing the turn and river
Odds and Outs
- Count your Outs
- Pot Odds
- Odds on the Turn and River
- Using Percentages
- Bet sizing, expressed versus implied odds
Rules and terms
- How to play a game
- Poker hand rankings
- Terminology and definitions
For futher study
- No Limit Hold’em starting hands; the Next Generation
- My Aces got cracked!
- Can I fold KK preflop?
- How to play JJ?
- Playing AK, Big Slick
- Should I move up to avoid the bad players? Part I
- Way ahead / Way behind
- What is ABC poker?
There's more to playing poker than odds. Some to consider include:
Expressed odds and Implied oddsWhat we've looked at so far come under the heading of "expressed odds"; numbers based on the bets, card odds and pot sizes. Lets say you have 98 and the flop is A76. The pot is $35, and your opponent in the big blind bets $20 making the pot $55. You are getting 55 to 20 pot odds, or 2.75 to one. Your open ended straight draw has a 4.9 to 1 chance of hitting on the turn. Fold? But say you called and the turn is a Ten. You've made the straight. Now you've got the turn and the river to make more money from your opponent. Or, say the turn is a 5 of some kind. A 5 is a little more obvious since it gives a 567 on the table, so maybe you won't be able to get quite as much money from your opponent. This extra money that you collect when you hit your hand is what is referred to as "implied odds". Implied odds are very imprecise, but very real, odds that you will collect money when you hit your draw. But, they are affected by
One more related term; reverse implied odds. That applies when a big stack opts to play against another big stack with a hand that is easily dominated. If you can't fold these types of hands you give off reverse implied odds. See this post for an example.
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