Poker is a game of skill (even though the U.S. Government doesn't think so) and because of this, in order to succeed, there must be a reason behind every decision you make.
Players normally bet because they feel they have the best hand. There are times, however, that by making a bet you will only get worse hands to fold and better hands to call. So what is the point of betting?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't bet, what I am saying is when you bet, make sure you know the reason you are betting.
With poker becoming more and more popular and consequently more difficult, being able to save bets or get extra bets out of your opponents is the difference between being a winning or losing player. This is why betting and bet sizing has become so critical.
This week I was able to use both betting and bet sizing to my advantage in an interesting heads up session I played online of 10-20 no-limit hold 'em.
By now you know how much I stress knowing what type of player you are playing against. In this particular session I was up against a very aggressive opponent who was definitely ready to gamble when the following hand came up.
We both had just over $2,000, and I was in the big blind with A K when he raised to $45. Normally I would three-bet here, but I decided to disguise the strength of my hand and elected just to call. The flop came down K 6 2 rainbow, a great flop for me obviously, and I decided to lead out betting $55. I could have also check-raised him on the flop, as he would almost always fire a C-bet here, but I had a feeling by leading into such an aggressive player there was a good chance he might raise me on the flop.
So far so good when he did in fact raise me to $180. Then I wanted to play for stacks. If I called his raise and then checked the turn, I really thought he would check behind as it becomes pretty obvious I have a K (I said he was aggressive not stupid). So I took another line.
I decided to make a raise to $305 in the hopes he still might not believe me. Well, not only did he not believe me, he shoved all in for just over $2,000. Now by no means do I have the nuts, but I'm never folding this hand heads up, so I went ahead and called. The board ran out 3 9, and I was shipped a $4,000 pot. I was obviously happy, but I was also a bit in shock when I checked to see what he had: A10!
By betting my hand the way I did and choosing the proper bet sizes I was able to induce him into trying to bluff me off my hand. Now if only poker was that easy all the time.
For anyone interested you can follow me on twitter: @DontCryRebuy