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Proper Bet Sizing: the Difference Between TAG fish and Profitable Players

Most TAG fish are pathological complainers: after all, they have skills, they have read around and they understand the basic mechanics of the game, yet somehow, they still find themselves unable to make ends meet at the poker table. It is indeed a frustrating position to be in and not being able to identify the source of the problems further adds to the frustration. Those TAG fish though who never bother much about the sizing of their bets, aimlessly mashing the buttons instead, needn’t look particularly far for the source of their problems.

Poker is a game of precision, and when it comes to bet sizing, its importance cannot be stressed enough. A properly sized bet is literally the difference between making money on a monster hand and not making any at all. Bet sizing is also what makes or breaks bluffs. The bottom line: if you’re a button masher yourself, you need to take a long look at what you’re achieving with it.

How do you size your bets then? Successful poker players never make a single move at the table without a precise goal in mind. Every single bet you place has to be aimed at achieving a goal, so the first step towards proper bet sizing knows your goals.

When you make a bet, there are two basic goals you may be after: you’re aiming to make your opponent fold or you’re placing a value bet, which means you’re looking for a call in order to get as many chips into the pot as possible. It is also part of the deal though that you need to mix up your play. You definitely do not want to make the same bet towards the same goal every time, because that will just make you easy to read.

All right, so you’re looking to make your opponent fold. In this case, there’s a basic rule you should always aim to follow: bet as little as possible to achieve your goal. This is not about min betting at all though, make no mistake about it. It’s about making a good read on your opponent and following through with a bet you reckon will be just big enough to make him fold.

The reason behind this thinking is simple: more often than not, in order to intimidate an opponent into folding, a half-pot size bet will do just as good a job as a full pot-size one. With that in mind, there’s really no reason to risk such a large percentage of your chips on something that may end up being called. Sometimes you will get called, so minimizing the money you risk on these intimidation moves will save you money in the long-run.

When making a value bet, you want your opponent to call you. In such cases, you want to place exactly as big a bet as he’s willing to call, without going over the line, because in that case you will obviously drop value. At the end of the day, what it all comes down to is good reads on your opponents and the willingness to go through the trouble of actually trying to determine the ideal size of your bets. Always sign up for a rakeback deal before you hit the online poker tables. You may also want to consider a poker prop site, because the rakeback deals on such sites are outstandingly generous. Why do poker sites use props? They need them to generate traffic.

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