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Defending Vs Bets

Even though one of the best ways to become a great poker player is with aggression, you won’t always be the one on the attack. Inevitably, your opponents will bet into you, and you’ll need to figure out how to defend.

Should you make the call? How about a re-raise? Or is it better just to fold?

Of course, everything depends on context. Here are some quick factors that you should consider when figuring out how to defend.

Pot Odds

This fundamental calculation should always be the first thing we look at when deciding whether to call or fold. While you’ll always be guessing at factors like range or psychological player profiling, you can be 100% sure about pot odds. All you need to know is the size of the pot and the size of the bet. That’s all public information.

To calculate pot odds, compare the amount you need to bet to the size of the pot. So, if you need to call 10 chips for a chance at winning a 100 chip pot, you have 10 to 1 pot odds. This means you only need to win 10% of the time, or in other words you need 10% equity.

If you can justify a call with pot odds, then it’s always worth calling.


To play a balanced game, you need to mix it up. Never do the same thing in the same situation all the time. However, deciding in the moment whether this is the time you’re going to float the flop or hero call with a bluff catcher on the river isn’t easy.

That’s why we have 1 easy trick. Let’s say you want to call roughly 25% of the time and fold the rest. Simply look down at your watch and let it make the decision for you. If the seconds hand is between 12 and 3, or in the 1st 25% of the minute, then make the call. Otherwise you can fold.

This keeps your frequencies neat and slightly random, while also preventing other people from getting a read on you. It’s a great strategy for defending against bets where the pot odds may not give you a total justification.

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