# A question or two about Pre-flop betting

What does a sane betting pattern look like to you – a straight upward slope which peaks at the Big blind if everyone has limped or an obtuse triangle which peaks at the middle position? I ask because, the first option gets very expensive if one is to follow the general rule to open from Cut-off and button if everyone has limped, but the second one gives everyone a good price to call. It shouldn’t be forgotten that everyone calls regardless of the bet size.

Please don’t respond with: only play premium hands or play according to the table; we are playing free poker after all, and it’s no fun.

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A good general rule is to open to 3-4 times the big blind, plus one big blind for each limper.

If you do this and still usually get a lot of callers in the games you’re playing then you can make your pre-flop raises bigger. At the lower limits here you can make it 10 or more times the big blind with your premium hands and get callers.

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Gee, if I did that on an MTT with good players I think I’d get killed, but I see your ranked 22 so one can’t really be critical, it obviously works where you play (which I’m guessing is at the Ring games).

To be fair, against good players you’re not gonna be facing a bunch of limps.

If you look at high level MTT play (the kind you see on TV with REALLY good players), you’ll see initial open raise sizes of 2-3BB. You won’t see much limping there.

I know OP said they don’t want to hear “play according to the table” but unfortunately that really is a part of the answer.

Some questions that might shed some light on this topic:

• What are we aiming to achieve by raising preflop?
• What size will accomplish this goal best and why?
• Based on the answers to the above, how does the optimal raise size change based on the players at the table?
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I think the OP is asking how many hands he can play by position, not which specific hands he can play. If that’s true, then the number of hands starts small UTG (full ring) and increases until you reach the BTN. The number of hands you can add from EP after UTG isn’t a whole lot. Its only once you can secure position that the number of hands you can play begins to increase dramatically. How much exactly will depend on the players between you and the BTN and then again on the types of players in the blinds. If you are not going to get 3-bet, you can go wild opening hands in position. If you are likely to get 3-bet or not get position, you have to be more selective. It then drops off sharply at the SB and increases again in the BB - assuming you are counting limped pots and hands you are priced in to see a flop with 1 raise and a bunch of flat calls ahead of you.

I hope this addresses what you were asking. If not, maybe rephrase the question so people can give you the information you want.

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My recommendation is to target an open size that will average about 1.2 callers. At some tables, yes, this means you’ll to open to 10x or more, regardless of position. At other tables, you can min-raise from the button and still expect to scoop the pot as frequently as you’ll get calls from both blinds.

With a larger open size, you should be playing a tighter range. If you’re at a splashy, station-y table where 12x raises are still seeing competitive interest, open to 15-20x with only premium holdings (top 5% of hands, maybe even fewer).

On the other hand, if you’re playing with players who actually know what they’re doing, you’ll see very few limps. In that case, assuming it folds to you, use a progressively smaller size as you get closer to the button, then a larger size in the blinds. This also works for 3-bet sizing. For example, if effective stack size were ~100BB, UTG folds and UTG+1 opens to 2.5BB, I’d probably 3-bet to about 8BB if I were UTG+2, but if UTG+2 through CO folded and I was sitting on the button, my 3-bet size would probably be closer to 5.5BB. However, if I were in the small blind, I’d bump up my 3-bet size to 10-11BB, since I’d be out of position postflop and looking to take down the pot early.

I use this a lot in tournaments. Early on, people don’t respect 5BB opens, and will still call with offsuit trash (ooh! I have a queen! she’s so pretty, even if she only has a three to go along with her!). So I use an even larger open size in order to punish those weak players, will frequently c-bet since my range will be way stronger than theirs, and go heavy for value on turns/rivers. However, later in the tournament, you can get a lot of folds with much smaller open sizes. I’ll expand my range and progressively reduce my standard open to 3BB, then 2.7, then 2.5, and eventually work my way down to 2BB (or whatever the min is if there’s an ante). That worked well for my most recent tournament, yesterday’s 100K Replay Challenge, in which I took second place out of 39 entrants and bagged nearly 9 buy-ins.

Of course, your mileage may vary…

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I don’t agree not everyone bets no matter the size, most of the time a big pre flop bet i see everyone quitting, it’s part of the game all i can say is get used to it

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Well that depends on what stakes your playing. If or once you have played all stake levels ( rings or tourneys ) you will see a variance on that.

Most good players do not go all in before the flop or make huge bets. In holdem, I have certain hands I raise 1 level. In Omaha, I never raise pre flop … Even with AA23 2 suits. If I did the flop would be 9 jack king… Most of those bingo players knock themselves out early.

This is so incorrect, the exact opposite is true.

There are absolutely situations where good players go all-in preflop. If you’re 35BB deep, facing a 10BB 3-bet, and holding AA, the correct play is to get it in. In tournament poker, sitting on a super-short stack of just 3BB, if it folds to you in the small blind, you should be looking to go all-in with almost every hand in your range.

As far as making big preflop bets, well, that can be an adjustment to the player pool. When I drop down in stakes, players are often way too eager to see a flop and willing to pay heavily for the privilege with sub-premium holdings. Facing those types of players I tighten up my range and will open to 10BB or more if I notice that smaller sizing doesn’t get folds. That’s a tactic that has been incredibly profitable.

Can you provide an example of a “good” player that rarely/never bets big preflop?

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I never do… I do not think Dan does lildevil… I could go on and on. Ask those you consider good and see what their response is. I play alot and have not seen too many with a good rating do that before the flop.

WannabeCoder
Volunteers

``````    November 7
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Rob777:
Most good players do not go all in before the flop or make huge bets.

This is so incorrect, the exact opposite is true.

There are absolutely situations where good players go all-in preflop. If you’re 35BB deep, facing a 10BB 3-bet, and holding AA, the correct play is to get it in. In tournament poker, sitting on a super-short stack of just 3BB, if it folds to you in the small blind, you should be looking to go all-in with almost every hand in your range.

As far as making big preflop bets, well, that can be an adjustment to the player pool. When I drop down in stakes, players are often way too eager to see a flop and willing to pay heavily for the privilege with sub-premium holdings. Facing those types of players I tighten up my range and will open to 10BB or more if I notice that smaller sizing doesn’t get folds. That’s a tactic that has been incredibly profitable.

Can you provide an example of a “good” player that rarely/never bets big preflop?

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I’m going to agree with wannabe, most great players are not super nitty and do have an idea when a big bet is likely to be profitable.

Building up the pot is the goal, NOT winning back your own money…
AA never beats 2-2-2 btw

So do you limp or raise 3 bb with AA? I mean sometimes that’s cool but you’re gonna want to get paid big for those. Plus too many callers you’re a lot less likely to hold. You don’t want too many callers with AA or KK but betting big pays off big

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He is right.

Good players with decent hole cards most often raise a good amount pre-flop to isolate the competition to heads up or 3 handed. This is building up the pot with 1 or 2 other players calling your larger pre-flop bets with the best chance of taking down the pot too. Most often the pot will be larger 2 or 3 handed with larger bets then 4 or 5 handed with 2 or 3 limpers which allows more of a chance you get cracked on the turn or river. However, playing rings vs tourneys does change how often, how much to raise pre, and when to. Doing this allows you to maximize upside potential gain with reducing downside risk which is what you want with every hand you play.

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Seems to me that if i’m gonna open Pocket A, for 4BB, then i’m gonna open A5s for 4BB, or Jacks, or JTs ect. ect. So what if i play AA and only pull the blinds. Next time i pull the blinds with a pair of 8s. I don’t play hands that i don’t think have a good chance to win. If i’m playing a hand i have confidence in. why wouldn’t I get chips in the pot. There are times when you open good hands, and never see any improvement, and your stack starts looking 3:1, or 2:1 spr. you have to show a level of digression here, or you find yourself placing bets which have no clout . At these times, i tighten up ,my hand selection, but try to maintain my betting pattern, as i need chips and that’s how i get them. Seems the only alternative would be to limp everything, and put yourself at the fickle will of variance.

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Ohh my , my … … No, Yes, and Duhhh, heck yea.
Rob, of the 3, Florida has the right play.
You’d actually be surprised how often Coder is right, in that I see ppl open shoving a 2! or 3! for 4-10m on Hagia, all the time… with AA. I personally think Florida has the right play as he did explain.

You’d think that @ 1m+ buyin for rings gets you above the, way too agressive players … but it doesn’t seen to be the case. It kinda boils down to… do you wanna be the agressor or the caller, going into the flop.
This can be as simple as raising and getting a few callers, then Flop has A/K or both, and no matter what you have, you can then rep and c-bet the flop… or
Do you just call with AA, then see a dry Axx flop, where you minbet/check kinda to induce a bigger raise, that you can re-raise knowing you’re crushing everything someone will bet with… and they might even donk off thier whole stack, re-raising.

Some ppl just play, some use math/odds, some bankroll/stack, others may play posistion, still others situational, agressive or passsive, even play the players not the cards. Every hand on every table is different, yet alot are simmilar.

Altho I think the answer you seek, just might be…
Feel the table out or know the players already, be aware of stack sizes, but tailor your preflop betting size to what as Tacos said, will be your objective of your bet. possibly use the HCD (highest common denominator) ie-bet size, so you don’t get blown off course by the 1-2 huge stacks.
Sassy

Sir, I saw your rating. It is very good. I bet you never raise before the flop in Omaha hi lo. I do not . When I see the few that do, most likely they have a low rating. I have found 26 bingo players with something in common… they all have no friends. A few have 1 or 2.

As I said , I raise 1 level before the flop in holdem with certain hands. I want callers and if the flop seems to help others I have lost only a few chips. Does that make sense to you? I think florida is talking about holdem…There is a big difference between the different games. Thanks for your email… gl at the tables.

Sassy_Sarah

``````    November 10
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Rob777:
Most good players do not go all in before the flop or make huge bets.

WannabeCoder:
This is so incorrect, the exact opposite is true.

floridajetski:
Good players with decent hole cards most often raise a good amount pre-flop to isolate the competition to heads up or 3 handed.

Ohh my , my … … No, Yes, and Duhhh, heck yea.
Rob, of the 3, Florida has the right play.
You’d actually be surprised how often Coder is right, in that I see ppl open shoving a 2! or 3! for 4-10m on Hagia, all the time… with AA. I personally think Florida has the right play as he did explain.

You’d think that @ 1m+ buyin for rings gets you above the, way too agressive players … but it doesn’t seen to be the case. It kinda boils down to… do you wanna be the agressor or the caller, going into the flop.
This can be as simple as raising and getting a few callers, then Flop has A/K or both, and no matter what you have, you can then rep and c-bet the flop… or
Do you just call with AA, then see a dry Axx flop, where you minbet/check kinda to induce a bigger raise, that you can re-raise knowing you’re crushing everything someone will bet with… and they might even donk off thier whole stack, re-raising.

Some ppl just play, some use math/odds, some bankroll/stack, others may play posistion, still others situational, agressive or passsive, even play the players not the cards. Every hand on every table is different, yet alot are simmilar.

Altho I think the answer you seek, just might be…
Feel the table out or know the players already, be aware of stack sizes, but tailor your preflop betting size to what as Tacos said, will be your objective of your bet. possibly use the HCD (highest common denominator) ie-bet size, so you don’t get blown off course by the 1-2 huge stacks.
Sassy

That stings. Why should anyone be surprised when I’m right?

You’ll get no argument that different games should have different strategies. However, good players figure out a way to build an edge and create value at every opportunity. Disarming yourself by refusing to use one of the weapons at your disposal - betting preflop in Omaha Hi-Lo, in this case - is sub-optimal almost by definition.

1 Like