Very few Texas No-Limit Holdíem poker players will tell you, "I have a really good understanding of the rules of poker, but Iím not so great at betting." Betting is poker.
Without it, thereís no game, itís just dealing out cards to a showdown. If youíve mastered the art of betting, youíve mastered poker strategy.
With Texas No-Limit Holdíem in particular, where you can make a bet of any size at any time, poker betting is elevated to its highest art form. Here are a few types of bets youíll be making and how youíll be making them in a Texas holdíem game.
This is probably the most underrated type of Texas No-Limit Holdíem betting. A value bet is a bet you make hoping to get called because you think you have the best hand.
Many players throw in chip after chip chasing a flush draw, then hit it and push in all their chips, making a bet their opponents canít call.
Itís usually a mistake to assume that your opponents will think you are on a bluff when you push all your chips in. They may just think youíre greedy, or they may not have the guts to call even if they put you on a bluff.
The perfect bet when you have a winner is one chip less than the amount your opponent doesnít feel comfortable calling to satisfy their curiosity.
If you really think you have the best of it, itís better to err on the side of getting called for a few less chips than you could have gotten, rather than inducing a fold.
This is the opposite of a value bet. Here, you donít want to get called. Again, an all-in overbet is tricky, since players may assume you would bet less in order to induce a call if you had a big hand.
Even if you believe this, itís tough to call off all your chips based on such a belief. In general, your best bluff bet is one chip greater than your perfect value bet.
Again, err on the side of putting in a few too many chips in order to get that fold rather than getting called with fewer chips.
Hereís a bet where you have a big draw, but you havenít gotten there yet, so you donít mind getting called. Here itís better to err on the side of inducing a fold, since you havenít made your hand yet.
This bet is made to control the size of the pot. Larger bets build big pots faster; smaller ones keep the pot small.
If youíve got a strong but vulnerable hand, like a top pair, you may want to try to keep the pot small so you donít get put to too tough a decision on the river.
Similarly, if you have a big draw, you may want to put in a small bet so that if you hit you can build a big pot, but you donít want it to get too big too quickly so that someone can force you off your draw with an all in.
On the other hand, if you flop something like a set, you want that pot to grow, but be careful, betting too much right away could kill all your action.
Also called a blocking bet, this is a small bet you make when you donít like the flop, but want to remain the aggressor in the hand.
The hope is that your bet will be large enough that opponents will be discouraged from bluffing, and you will get to see additional cards. If you face a big raise after one of these bets, itís usually safe to release your hand.
Final note: If your bet sizes are the same relative to the type of bet you are making every time, savvy opponents may catch on. Make sure to vary your bet sizes from time to time to prevent observant opponents from picking up a read on you.