Knowing how much to bet pre-flop is a crucial part of your overall poker strategy. Any edges that you can get at this point in the hand will reap rewards on later streets and, by the same token, any mistakes will have dire consequences down the line.
Bet-sizing is a poker fundamental. It determines how likely people are to call, what ranges people will fold, your level of aggression, and even your image at the table.
Here’s some quick tips for pre-flop bet-sizing.
Add More for Limpers
In general, you want to open raise 3 to 5 times the amount of the big blind. So, if the BB is 5 chips, raise somewhere between 15 and 25 chips.
However, if there are limpers already in the pot, you need to add extra chips, generally one BB per limper. If we add two limpers to our previous scenario, we need to bet 25 to 35 chips. This is because the limpers dead money inflates the pot and so we need to make a bigger bet in order to get the same pot-odds.
Out of Position
You should also make bigger bets if you’re out of position. If you’re in the big blind, for example, you might raise to 6 or 7 times the BB. This is because you’ll be at a disadvantage post-flop and you’d rather take down the pot right now.
Factor in Stack to Pot Ratio
Another consideration is stack to pot ratio, or SPR. If you’re betting into someone who only has 10 BBs, then making a 5 BB bet will force the issue. If they call, then they’re going to be pot-committed and probably won’t be folding anytime soon. They’ll only want to call your raise with good hands.
You should also think about your own SPR on the flop before putting in the chips. Although these considerations will vary depending on the context and your own
strategy, it’s important to be aware of them from the start.