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Flop Bet Sizing

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  • Flop Bet Sizing

    In a recently resurrected post from a couple of years ago the argument has been whether or not a small or large RFI size is best.

    It was demonstrated mathematically that an RFI size of 3bb is better than an RFI size of 10bb.

    Is there a similar solution we can use for determining the correct size of our bets on the flop?

    Cash game
    $1/$2 blinds
    >300bb effective stacks

    Hero raises to 3bb from MP with ??
    BTN calls

    Flop: ?? ?? ??

    In this example we have a premium made hand or a good draw and are therefore going to bet. We know nothing about our opponent and so are looking to play completely balanced and avoid making an exploitative (exploitable) line.

    This is a single raised pot with very deep stacks and so using the 10%/30% with a view to getting stacks in by the river is not feasible.

    It's so easy to arbitrarily click one of our pre-defined bet size buttons and place the bet without really asking ourselves why we are choosing that size.

    Recently I've been using a 35% bet size in almost every situation following the advice of a friend who does well at a stake just a couple of levels ahead of me, but this cannot be the best approach.

    Are there any rules that we can follow or sizing templates that we can use? Or is this simply to vague a question based on the countless possible permutations?

  • #2
    No. Post flop betting has so many variables that it is impossible to just pick a one size fits all approach.
    • Who has the range advantage?
    • How is your betting range developed? What is your ratio?
    • Do you have a nut advantage?
    • What position do you open from?
    • What position did the caller call from?
    • What is the board texture?
    • How strong is your value range? Do you have the nuts in your range, or is your value range made up of a lot of second best hands?
    • Are you betting for thin value?
    • Do you have enough draws?
    • Do you have too many draws?
    • Is it the third Tuesday of Lent? and so on.


    • #3
      ok this i can give quite a lot of feedback on bet sizing on post flop play

      there is alot of bet sizing we can play with , just that i dont really like overpot at flop , if the effective stack is deep , and if villain is sticky enought we can pot flop overpot turn overpot jam river for value ,of course we need to balance it with bluff,

      i am just giving example , certain overpot is hard to balance and justify , i personally do a lot of 2 x overpot and 1.5 x over pot , anything more then 2 x , e.g 3x 4 x its hard for us to have too much bet sizing .

      100 pot we bet 200 , we need a fold of 67% to be profitable, 1.5x pot we need around 60% fold equity, in a very deep effective stack size game i rarely bet 1/3 pot because its hard to get stack in ,

      i dont recommended betting overpot at flop one of the reason is i cant find good reason to overbet, normally when we overbet pot there must be few good reason

      -when villain range is cap
      -when villain range is condense when hero range is polarize
      -when hero range has nuts advantage

      on the flop unless the board come J Q T , we can say we have nuts advantage , we cant even know much info if vilain range is cap or condense most of the time.

      i believe in good reason , for all action we did, be it we bet small , bet big bet overpot , there is alot of spot i bet small for value and bluff, i also do a lot of overpot for value or bluff when i find that villain range is condense and cap

      example 2
      hero has Ah Ks
      board 2h 5h Qs turn Jh , river 7d

      on the turn i may over pot and river i will always overpot , if you do not have strong flush you wll have a hard time calling down , first the nuts advantage n my hand, if villain call my flop bet and turn bet , he is unlikly to have set , even flush villain range is likely a bluff catcher when he opt to call flop and turn .


      • LondonImp
        LondonImp commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for taking the time to write this Paul.

        I intend to steer clear of overbetting the flop until I get the basics well and truly nailed, for the very reason that you mention: "hard to balance and justify".

        The points you list for considering an overbet however are useful considerations when considering any bet sizes I think. I will keep them in mind during my next session.

    • #4
      Are y'all talking about online cash games?


      • LondonImp
        LondonImp commented
        Editing a comment
        This is more applicable to online cash. The reason being that generally the opponents are better and more balanced, and so we will not be looking to make exploitative plays until we've developed solid reads on them. Therefore it is vital that we adopt a logical and balanced approach ourselves.

        No doubt there will be some cross over into live cash games, although certainly from my experience they have always been a lot softer. For example, playing live I am more than comfortable playing £1/£2 however online I struggle to beat 10p/25p.

    • #5
      The first two question I ask myself when determining flop c-bet sizings are:

      1. Is it a tournament or cash?

      Both have so many variables that you need to consider. But generally speaking tournament sizing can vary even more due to stack sizes, etc. So it is always important to consider what the SPR is of the effective stack. It is much more common to see smaller sizings on the flop in tournaments compared to cash games. A lot of this has to due with stack sizes as mentioned above, but also with the importance of the value of your chips and tournament life.

      2. Is the villain(s) a thinking player or a level 1 player?

      If the villain is a thinking player or a player that is unknown, I tend to bet my entire range the same instead of tailoring my bet size to what I want to accomplish.

      What I mean by this is that lets say we are in a cash game and are 100bb effective. We know the BB is a solid regular who we play against often.

      We raise to 3x from the LJ and are called by the BB.

      The flop comes Ks Js 4h and the BB checks.

      Whether I have a set of jacks, a flush draw or AK, I am betting my entire c-bet range with the same sizing. I also check back some hands that can defend to turn bets by villain (like KTs). This is what Jonathan teaches for the most part. I want to remain balanced and make life on the villain tough. I don't want to give away any clues to what I have in my hand by my bet sizing. I know that villain is able to hand read and put me on a range. Therefore I don't want to be predictable with my sizings and provide any clues.

      On the other hand lets take the same scenario but we know the villain in the BB continues with a wide range on the flop and becomes honest on the turn. He is a level 1 player as we know he is only concerned with his holdings and he does not appear to pay attention to opponents sizings.

      In this case I am going to tailor my bet sizing on what I want the outcome to be or what I hold because I am confident the villain is not aware or does not use the sizings to factor into his ability to put me on a "range". He is only concerned about his cards.

      So I may bet small with my weak hands to protect, larger with my strong hands to maximize value and widen my value range to exploit how wide he calls c-bets. I am not that concerned with balancing a check back range to protect against his turn betting because I know he is only playing his cards and I can exploit that.

      After these things are established we can then break down flops into board texture categories. I like the following 3 categories which are universally used.

      1. Strong (high) / Weak (low)

      - Strong or high flops favor the pre flop raiser (dependent on position of course) . For example A K 4 is a strong or high flop.

      - Weak or low flops favor the pre flop caller. For example 2 5 7 is a weak or low flop.

      Generally speaking we can be stronger as the pre-flop raiser when our range is strong and take a more passive route when our range is weak.

      2. Coordinated (wet) / Uncoordinated (dry)

      - Coordinate flops are very connected with tons of draws present. For example 6h 7h 4c or Ts Js Qs.

      - Uncoordinated flops have few or no draws available. For example Ah 4d 9s or Kc 2s 7h.

      3. Static / Dynamic

      - Static flops basically mean the nuts will not change much by the turn/river. Or the advantage is usually swung one way or the other on the flop. Whoever has the strongest hand on the flop will often keep the lead on the turn and river. Generally speaking there is less action on these flops because there are less chances for hands to improve. For example if the flop comes As 9h 4d or Kd 4h 4s. Often times the player with the best hand on these flops will have the best hand on the turn and river.

      - Dynamic flops however can change the nuts on the turn and river. Or the advantage will not be swayed one way or the other on the flop. These are your action flops in which many hands are able to continue in hopes to improve. For example Ts Js 9h. This is an action flop and so many turn cards can change the dynamic of the hand. Any spade, 8, Q, K or even A can swing the advantage to one player or another.

      Its important to become familiar with board textures and how they interact with ranges. Play around with an equity calculator and notice how when you change board textures it alters the advantage from the PFR to the PFC (pre flop caller).

      Once a solid understanding is developed you can then progress to some baseline sizing guidelines for different textures.
      Last edited by JredA; 05-15-2019, 04:20 PM.


      • #6
        Its important to understand that there are no set sizings that are better than others. The following are just basic guidelines that you can use to become familiar with different textures. As always factors such as villains tendencies, number of players in the pot, games, position, stack sizes and other fluid factors should always be considered and used into the sizing equation.

        Once we gain an understanding of the different textures we can begin developing some strategies and putting the flops together.

        For simplicity sake lets use the example from the OP above:

        Cash game
        $1/$2 blinds
        >300bb effective stacks

        Hero raises to 3bb from MP with ??
        BTN calls

        Flop: ?? ?? ??

        Remember, OP said villain is unknown and we would like to take an approach that is balanced.

        Flop #1 example = High and Dry Flops (static)

        Ad 3c 3s

        This is High and Dry flop and as we learned from my post above we know that high flops favor the PFR. With that being said, these are great boards to bet small with our entire c-betting range. Small bets provide some protection and at the same time also encourage a wide range of hands to continue which we can get value from.

        Let's say we have 88 and bet small. Getting a fold from a hand like JT or QJ is a great result. On the flip side if we have AQ we may get called by a hand like 77, 88, 99 or even smaller pp's. Some villains may even continue with hands such as KQs or KJs.

        Some people call these the "way ahead, way behind flops" and other examples include Q22r, K72r or A94r. These are all high and dry flops. There really is no advantage to betting large on these flops unless of course you have some reads on villain.

        Flop #2 example = High and Wet Flops (dynamic)

        As Ks 9c

        These are your action flops. They also favor the PFR more often than not and therefore we can use larger sizings to not only protect when we are strong but to build a pot for when we hit our strongest draws.

        In our example above we can have all the sets, several 2 pair combos, along with some very strong draws. This flop really hits our range which is why a larger sizing is ideal.

        Other examples of these flops include Kd Qd 8h, Ah Td Qd, As Js 9h

        Flop #3 example = Low and Wet Flops (dynamic)

        3s 4s 5d

        These flops often favor the PFC.

        It can often times be correct to check our entire range on these flops especially when we open from EP. The caller in the example above has all the sets, 2 pair and straight draws in their range while we only have a few of the combos.

        Betting smaller is also an option on these flops so we keep the pot small and can proceed cautiously.

        Other examples include 7h 6h 4d, 8c 7c 5d, 9s 6s 5c

        Flop # 4 example = Low and Dry (dynamic)

        8 4 4r

        On low and dry flops it often provides an opportunity for the PFR to be aggressive. The reason is that many times the board will change on turns and rivers. With the flop above any A, K, Q or J can hit on the turn and we can rep one of many hand combos getting folds often from villain.

        Betting small on the flop and applying pressure with larger bets on cards that hit our range on the turn is a great way to increase our win rate.

        Other examples include 9 3 3 r, 6 2 2 r, etc.

        This just touches the tip of the iceberg and as JJ mentioned so many factors need to be considered, but this should help get many started.


        • LondonImp
          LondonImp commented
          Editing a comment
          This really is great stuff JredA, and I thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough response.

          This has given me a lot to think about and has straightened up a few concepts in my mind. I will reply properly shortly with a couple more questions that this has raised.