I could go on any poker forum hand discussion thread right now and find hundreds of hand reviews with really poor bet sizing versus weak opponents. Poor bet sizing versus opponents who will play their hands face up, and call too often with weaker hands will dramatically impact your winrate. Just missing 3-4 extra big blinds in a hand, over many hands has a serious impact on your bb/100. Just think about it for a second. If you miss just 4 big blinds you could have had in a hand versus a fish, and let’s say you get 4 of those hands per 1k hands you play, that’s 1.6 BBs/100 off your winrate. And really, the damage is typically much worse than that for most hands I see because it will go something like this for example with roughly 85 BB effective stacks:
Fish limps into pot, Hero raises 4 BB’s with AsKs in position. Everyone else folds, the fish calls and the flop comes:
2c 6s Ac (pot: 9.5): Fish checks, hero bets 6 BBs, fish calls.
Turn: 9d (pot: 21.5): Fish checks, hero bets 13 BBs, and fish calls.
I literally see this in countless hands. So if you’re not doing it already, you need to be betting much more on the flop and turn here. The reasons are simple:
- Either fish has Ax, 6x, a gutshot or a flush draw, and they are not folding any of those. So make them pay.
- You’re likely never playing with this fish again, so bet sizing tells and GTO go right out the door.
- If you’re beat, you’ll get away from your hand cheaper than you would against other opponents.
So for those primary reasons, you should be betting more. Here’s how much I would have bet in that exact same situation at say 200NL or below games:
Fish limps into pot, Hero raises 5 BB’s with AsKs in position. Everyone else folds, the fish calls and the flop comes:
2c 6s Ac (pot:11.5): Fish checks, hero bets 10 BBs, fish calls.
Turn: 9d (pot: 31.5): Fish checks, hero bets 24 BBs, and fish calls.
River pot size is 79.5 with only 46 left behind, which makes for an easy river shove and call.
But just looking at the flop and turn only, there’s a 16 BB difference! Now let’s say in both hands the fish folds the river when he misses his draw, or in the top hand, you can’t get a good river shoving size because it’s too close to pot size, and not as easy of a call for a fish with top pair weak kicker. All of those things add up and make a big difference at the end of the month.
My top suggestions for improving in this area:
- Slow down. Stop and think about how you can get all the money in and what kind of sizing you need to make that happen by the river when you have a big hand.
- Bet close to pot size or pot size when you have TPTK+ and there’s draws against a fish.
- Keep your turn bet sizing larger than you normally would.
- Fold if you get raised.
Fish make it extremely simple to play against them, so take advantage of that. Don’t miss these valuable bets because they really do make a big difference in your winrate long term. GL!