Your Ultimate Postflop Bet Sizing Strategy Guide (2022)

The Ultimate Poker Postflop Bet Sizing Cheat Sheet

This article was written by blackrain79.com contributor Fran Ferlan.

This is a part 2 of the ultimate no-limit Texas hold’em bet sizing cheat sheet. This part will focus on the postflop play, specifically the flop, turn and river. 

I already discussed before the flop last week. For everything you need to know about preflop bet sizing, click here.

Alright, there’s a lot of ground to cover in this one as well, so let’s get right into it!

Here’s a quick recap again on the table positions in a 6max poker game, if you need a reminder:

UTG - Under the gun

MP - Middle position

CO - Cutoff

BU - Button

SB - Small blind

BB - Big blind

The Ultimate Flop, Turn, River Bet Sizing Cheat Sheet

And the Button and Cutoff arethe most profitable seats, as we will discuss more later.


1. Should You Choose Balanced or Exploitative Bet Sizing on the Flop, Turn and River?


One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on which bet size to use is the type of opponent(s) you’re up against. 

As a general rule, you want to use balanced bet sizing against more skilled and observant opponents, and exploitative bet sizing against weaker, unobservant opponents.

When using balanced bet sizing, your bet size does not reveal your hand strength, because you use the same size for your strong value hands, bluffs, and everything in between.

When using exploitative bet sizing, you adjust your bet size to match your overall hand strength. For example, you use bigger bet sizing for strong value hands and smaller bet sizing for your bluffs.

Both approaches have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. With balanced sizing, you do not give away your hand strength, but you may not extract as much money with your strong value hands than you would with exploitative sizing. 

You also risk more money when bluffing if your bluff gets called. However, you do make up for this fact by not revealing your hand strength, which makes your bluffs more likely to succeed.

With exploitative bet sizing, you can extract more value with your strong hands, but you run the risk of becoming predictable to players that are paying attention to your betting patterns.

You risk less money when bluffing with a smaller bet size, but you make it more likely for your opponents to call your bluff because you’re offering them a better price on a call. 

For these reasons, it’s vital to recognize which type of opponents you’re up against, and adjust accordingly. In other words, you need to figure out if your opponents are elastic or inelastic.

Price elasticity is a concept borrowed from economics, and it tells you how different prices affect demand. 

The demand for a product or a service is elastic when the changes in price affect demand, and it’s inelastic when the changes in price don’t affect demand. 

For example, the demand for gas is inelastic, because people need to drive their cars regardless of the gas price. The demand for luxury cruises is elastic, because people don’t need to go on a cruise, but might consider it if they get a good deal.

When you translate this to poker, you can imagine your bet size as a price to pay on a product, i.e. the pot.

 If you offer a smaller price, elastic opponents will continue the hand more frequently, and if you bump up the price, they won’t be as willing to continue the hand.

Inelastic opponents, on the other hand, don’t care about the price they’re getting on a call. Whether or not they decide to continue playing the hand depends more on their absolute hand strength, rather than the pot odds they are getting.

By the way for more on this, I already wrote the ultimate poker odds cheat sheet recently on this blog.

The proper way to adjust your bet sizes to inelastic opponents is to increase your bet sizing when you have a strong value hand, and decrease it when you’re bluffing.

Against elastic opponents, you can either

a) always use the same bet size (like 1/2 pot bets, for example)

b) mix up your betting patterns to keep them guessing

Or 

c) deliberately use a certain bet size to induce a certain action from them.

For example, if you have a monster hand, you may consider decreasing your bet size to offer them a better price on a call. Or you can increase your bet sizing with your bluffs to make it seem like you’re actually betting for value.

In short, when you’re up against recreational players, keep it simple and try to extract as much value as possible to exploit their overcalling tendencies.

Against skilled, regular players, use balanced bet sizing to always keep them guessing.

By the way, check out Nathan's recent video on how to quickly spot a recreational player at your table.



2. Always Consider the Board Texture When Choosing a Postflop Bet Sizing


Another factor to consider when sizing your bets is the board texture, especially when you’re betting for value. 

When betting for value, you’re hoping to get called by weaker hands, so you need to take the board texture into account. 

You are more likely to get called on wet, coordinated boards, because it’s more likely your opponent(s) connected with the board in some meaningful way. 

Conversely, you’re less likely to get called on dry, uncoordinated boards, because there’s less of a chance your opponents connected with the board in any way.

Example of a wet, coordinated board: 

JT8

Example of a dry, uncoordinated board:

K84

When you’re betting for value, you can increase your bet size on wet boards, because you’re more likely to get called, so you want to extract as much value out of your opponents as possible.

If you have a strong value hand on the board #1, like sets or a straight, you can go for a bigger bet size to

a) extract value while your hand is likely ahead and

b) to charge a premium for your opponent’s drawing hands.

You can consider a 3/4 pot size bet or even a full pot bet on board #1, depending on your opponent’s tendencies and the previous action. 

If the effective stack sizes are shallow and your opponent is a giant fish, you can even consider overbetting to take advantage of your opponent’s overcalling tendencies.

To overcall means to call more than would be considered optimal. In other words, it means to call so much that you leave yourself vulnerable to getting exploited. 

When your opponents overcall, the correct adjustment to make is to bluff less and to value bet your strong hands more aggressively.

Conversely, if your opponent overfolds in certain spots, the correct adjustment to make is to increase your bluffing frequency.

On dry boards like the example board #2, you can decrease your bet size when betting for value to give your opponents a better price on a call. 

One caveat: you don’t need to decrease your bet size if your opponents are inelastic. If you’re up against a huge calling station, use exploitative bet sizing, i.e. increase your bet size to extract the most value out of their overcalling tendencies.

Some players aren’t willing to bump up their bet sizes because they don’t want to “scare off” their opponents. 

This is a fair objection, but remember, inelastic opponents don’t care about the bet sizes they’re facing. It doesn’t affect how often they continue playing the hand. 

If they like their hand, they’ll continue playing it no matter the cost, and if they don’t, decreasing your bet size won’t compel them to continue. 

Postflop Bet Sizing Example Hand #1


Effective stack size: 100 BB ♥♦♠♣

You are dealt AK on the BU (button). You open-raise to 3x. Villain calls from the SB (small blind).

Pot: 7 BB

Flop K73

Villain checks. Which bet size should you use in this spot?

It depends on the type of player you are up against. If your opponent is a regular, you can use a 1/2 pot bet. 

A half pot bet doesn’t reveal your hand strength, because you would use the same bet size for your value hands, bluffs, mediocre hands, drawing hands, you name it. 

From the villain’s perspective, your bet looks like a standard c-bet, so they may call you with weaker Kx hands, pocket pairs, second pairs and so on.

If your opponent is a giant fish, on the other hand, you can bump up your bet size to, say, 5 BB, 7 BB, or even an overbet. 

Some players might object that this kind of bet sizing may scare off their opponents, but remember, you are up against a calling station. 

If they like their hand, they will call regardless of the price. If they don’t, decreasing your bet size won’t compel them to continue because they don’t care about the pot odds.

This is discussed in much more detail in Crushing the Microstakes.

That just about covers the bet sizing when you have strong value hands. Now let’s take a look at betting as a bluff to see what adjustments (if any) you need to make when bluffing.

The objective of bluffing is to get stronger hands than yours to fold, so it’s the opposite of betting for value. But in order to do that, you need to make your bluffs convincing. 

In other words, you need to make your bluffs look like you’re betting for value. This is where balanced bet sizing comes into play. 

If you’re using the same bet sizes for your bluffs and your value bets respectively, your bet sizes won’t reveal your hand strength. In other words, you’ll keep your opponents guessing.

If you do decide to bluff, however, you should only do so against opponents who are actually capable of folding. 

If you’re up against huge calling stations who can’t fold a hand to save their life, refrain from bluffing altogether. If you’re up against more observant opponents, you can bluff them if you can make your bluffs believable. 

Board texture is also a factor to consider here. Using the same bet size every time is fine, but you can still adjust your bet size on different board textures. 

When you’re value betting, you want to extract as much money as possible. When you’re bluffing, on the other hand, you want to risk as little money as possible, while still making your bluffs believable. 

For this reason, you can decrease your bet size when bluffing on dry boards. 

That’s because 

a) your opponent is less likely to have connected with the board, so they’re more likely to fold and

b) if you decrease your bet size, it may look like you’re offering a better price on a call (i.e. baiting your opponent into calling), so your bluff looks even more believable.

If you do get called, it’s better to risk less money than more. Against inelastic opponents, say, recreational players who play fit-or-fold, you can use a small bet size for bluffing (so you don’t risk a lot when you get called), and a bigger bet size when you’re betting for value.

A fit-or-fold player is usually a recreational player who likes to see a lot of flops, but gives up easily postflop when they don’t connect with the board (which is most of the time).

Conversely, if the board is very wet and coordinated, you might want to refrain from bluffing altogether. Remember, the point of bluffing is to get your opponents to fold, which they aren’t likely to do if they connected with the board in some way. 

And the wetter the board, the more likely it is for that to be the case.

If you want a step-by-step process on how to bluff your opponents effectively, and learn EXACTLY which bet size to use in different spots, enroll in Blackrain79 Elite Poker University.

You will learn how to consistently dominate recreational and regular poker players alike, no matter the cards you’re being dealt.

This is in addition to 17 hours of advanced poker training, hundreds of step by step example hands and downloadable "cheat sheets" below all 50 videos.

If you are serious about taking your poker game to the next level, enroll today.


Get $100 OFF Use Code: ELITE100


Learn to Make $1000 Per Month in Small Stakes Games With My Free Poker Cheat Sheet


Are you struggling to create consistent profits in small stakes poker games? Would you like to make a nice part time income of at least $1000 per month in these games? The Ultimate Flop, Turn, River Bet Sizing Cheat Sheet 
If so, then I wrote this free poker cheat sheet for you. 

 This is the best completely free poker strategy guide available online today. It shows you how to crush the small stakes games step by step. 

Learn exactly what hands to play and when to bet, raise and bluff all in! 

These are the proven strategies that I have used as a 10+ year poker pro to create some of the highest winnings of all time in these games. 

Enter your details below and I will send my free poker "cheat sheet" to your inbox right now.



3. On Adjusting Your Flop, Turn and River Bet Sizing


As a general rule, you want to keep your bet sizes somewhere between 1/2 and full pot bets. Keeping your bet sizing in this range helps you to

a) extract enough value from your strong hands

b) make your bluffs more likely to succeed and

c) keep your opponents on your toes, because you let them know that if they want to get involved in a hand with you, it’s going to cost them.

However, sometimes there are situations in which you can deviate from the standard bet sizing, and bet less than half pot, or more than a full pot. Let’s cover betting less than half the pot first.

We’ll focus on flop c-betting, although most of the concepts mentioned here apply on the turn and river as well.

When you are the preflop aggressor, you have the opportunity to make a continuation bet (or c-bet for short) on the flop. C-bets are usually profitable, and you should make a c-bet in most cases unless there’s a clear reason not to.

Here are a few common spots where decreasing your c-bet size can work:

a) against fit-or-fold players on dry flops.

If your opponent likes to see a lot of flops, but gives up easily when they don’t connect with the board, you can decrease your c-bet size in order to get a better risk-to-reward ratio. 

This is just one of several poker bet sizing "secrets" by the way that rich poker pros don't want you to know about.

The smaller your bet size, the less often your opponents need to fold in order for your bet to be profitable. 

In order to know how often your opponents need to fold for your light c-bet to be profitable, you need to calculate the required fold equity (RFE for short). 

(By the way, a light c-bet is a continuation bet made with the intention of making your opponents fold, i.e. c-betting as a bluff).

You do that by dividing the risk (i.e. your bet size) by the risk and reward (your bet size plus the pot size).

Here’s an an example to illustrate the point:


Postflop Bet Sizing Example Hand #2


You open-raise to 3x on the BU (button). Small blind calls.

Pot size: 7 BB

You bet 1/2 pot hoping your opponent will fold.

How often does villain need to fold here for your light c-bet to be profitable?

Required Fold Equity = Risk / Risk + Reward

Risk = 3.5 (your bet size)

Reward = 7 (pot size)

When you plug in the numbers, you get:

RFE = 3.5 / 3.5 + 7

RFE = 0.33

In other words, your opponent needs to fold at least 33% of the time in order for your light c-bet to be profitable.

Now let’s say that you bet a full pot instead, and see what happens to the required fold equity.

RFE = 7 / 7 + 7

RFE = 0.5

If you bet a full pot on the flop, your opponent needs to fold at least 50% of the time in order for your light c-bet to be profitable.

As you can see, the smaller your bet size, the less often your opponents need to fold so you can take down the pot. If you decrease your bet size below a half pot, you decrease the required fold equity even further.

The problem with this, however, is the smaller your bet size, the more likely it is to get called, because you’re offering your opponents a better price. 

That’s why it’s so important to figure out whether your opponents are elastic or inelastic. You can decrease your bet sizing against inelastic opponents, because they don’t care as much about the odds they’re getting. 

Against elastic opponents, decreasing your bet size will result in them continuing the hand more often. 

So if you’re bluffing, you shouldn’t decrease your bet size too much against elastic (i.e. more skilled and observant) opponents.

By the way, this is just one of many easy poker "tricks" to win every hand as Nathan discusses in a recent video.


We’re talking about light c-betting here, of course. When you’re c-betting for value, you’re not interested in the required fold equity, because you want your opponents to continue the hand.

This brings us to the second spot in which it might be wise to decrease your c-bet sizing…

b) to offer a better price with a strong value hand

The stronger your hand, the less likely it is for your opponent to have an even stronger hand. This may seem blatantly obvious, but it’s important to keep it in mind when you absolutely smash the flop. 

You obviously want your opponent to call in this case, but chances are they won’t have anything worth calling with.

Remember, you can only bet for value if your opponent will call you with weaker hands. If they don’t have anything worth calling with, you can’t really bet for value then.

It’s very hard to make a strong hand in no-limit hold’em for one player, let alone two. So when you smash the flop hard, you may consider slowplaying (play your hand passively) by skipping a bet and letting your opponents catch up on future streets.

Alternatively, you can offer your opponents a better price on a call by decreasing your bet size. This only works against elastic opponents, of course. 

If you decrease your bet size, your opponents may suspect you’re bluffing and call you, or even come back at you with a raise. Or they can chase their draws because they’re getting a decent price on a call.

You should also decrease your bet size on dry board when you have a strong value hand, because it’s harder for your opponent to have a decent hand as well. Offering them a better price may compel them to continue the hand regardless of their mediocre hand strength.

One caveat: don’t decrease your bet sizing against recreational players who like to call a lot. Against them, stick to exploitative bet sizing. Always charge them a premium when you have a strong value hand, and refrain from bluffing them altogether.

c) as a blocker bet

A blocker bet is a small out of position bet that is made neither as a value bet or as a bluff, but because you want to dissuade your opponent from making a large bet of their own. 

For example, you want a cheap showdown, or you have a drawing hand, so you make a small bet hoping your opponent will just call and you get a cheap card.

One caveat: if you do decide to make a blocker bet, make it around 20-40% of the pot. Don’t make it a single big blind, as this is one of the telltale signs of recreational players.

By the way, for all the poker beginner mistakes you absolutely must avoid at all costs, click here.

d) to induce bluffs

Sometimes you can’t bet for value because your opponent won’t be willing to call you with weaker hands. But skipping a bet altogether will result in leaving money on the table. 

In these spots, making a small bet may compel your opponents to call because they’re getting such a good price on a call, or even better, to come back at you with a raise because they think you are bluffing.

For more advanced poker bluffing strategies, check out The Micro Stakes Playbook.


4. Use Overbetting to Punish the Calling Stations on the Postflop Streets


Standard bet sizes fall somewhere between a half pot bet and a full pot bet. But if you’re playing no-limit hold’em, sometimes it pays to take advantage of the NO LIMIT part of the equation. 

If the situation calls for it, there’s nothing stopping you from making your bets bigger than the pot size. When you make a bet that’s bigger than the current pot size, you are overbetting.

By the way, this is just one of many simple ways to start winning much more at poker, instantly!

Now, being able to bet any amount you want doesn’t mean you should just go all in every time you get a monster hand, as you obviously won’t get called too often that way. 

This has to do with the price elasticity mentioned above. The bigger the bet, the worse price your opponents are getting on a call, so the less likely they are to continue the hand.

Against inelastic opponents, however, you can use overbetting to extract more value out of your strong hands. 

It’s worth mentioning that no opponent is perfectly inelastic, meaning even the fish might get suspicious if you suddenly start blasting huge bets out of nowhere. 

Here are a few factors that make overbetting (for value in this case) more likely to succeed:

a) wet, coordinated boards

As mentioned, the wetter the board, the more likely it is for your opponent to connect with it in some way, meaning they’ll be more inclined to continue the hand. 

By overbetting, you’re giving them a worse price on a call with their drawing hands, i.e. you’re charging them a premium if they want to draw out on you. You’re also extracting more value while your hand is likely ahead.


Sidenote: the wetter the board, the stronger hand you need to value bet it, as there are more possible hand combinations that have you beat. Also be on the lookout for potential draws that could beat you on future streets.

b) recreational players who like to call a lot

Fish don’t care about the price they’re getting on a call, so they are more likely to chase their ludicrous draws no matter the price. Why not charge them a premium, then?

c) shallow stack-to-pot ratio

As the name suggests, stack-to-pot ratio (or SPR for short) is a ratio of the effective stack size (the smaller stack size of the two players involved in a pot) and the size of the pot itself. 

It tells you how committed you are to the pot, or in other words, how inclined you should be to play for the rest of your stack.

There is tons of great free and paid simple poker software tools by the way that can quickly help you calculate this.

For example, if the pot size is $25, and you have $100 left in your stack, the SPR is 4.

If the SPR is very small (3 or less), you are automatically committed to the pot with a top pair hand or better, and you should be willing to put the rest of your stack in the pot.

When SPR is shallow, your overbet is more likely to get called, since a lot of the money is already in the pot, and it’s easy to ship the rest of it in.

It’s worth mentioning that SPR is a preflop and flop metric, meaning that you don’t calculate it again on the turn and river. It just shows you your level of commitment to the pot on the flop, which translates to the rest of the hand.

If the SPR is small, it doesn’t mean you NEED to ship the rest of your stack in right then and there on the flop, of course. 

It just means that overbetting might work in that instance, because you’re giving your opponents a worse price on a call if they have drawing hands, and extracting more value out of your strong hands.

You’re also denying your opponents their hand equity. For example, if your hand is a 70% favourite to win, you’re making your opponent forfeit their hand equity if they fold their hand.

This is also known as betting for protection. This is often done with strong, but vulnerable hands, i.e. the ones that can often get outdrawn by straights, flushes and so on.

So when you make a big bet with a strong, but vulnerable hand (say, top pair top kicker) you are either:

a) making your opponent call with bad pot odds

or 

b) making them forfeit their hand equity.

For more info on betting for protection and other advanced poker strategies, check out the Modern Small Stakes.


The Ultimate Poker Postflop Bet Sizing Cheat Sheet - Summary


You don't need to spend hundreds of hours studying advanced poker strategy in order to master postflop bet sizing.

Standard flop, turn and river bet sizing usually falls somewhere between a half pot bet and full pot bets. Using this range helps you extract value out of your strong hands and bluff effectively.

Against inelastic opponents, use exploitative bet sizing: size up your bets with strong value hands, and decrease them when betting as a bluff.

Against elastic opponents, use balanced bet sizing to conceal your hand strength and keep your opponents guessing.

If you’re betting as a bluff, memorize the required fold equity (RFE) for common bet sizes: 

When you bet 1/2 pot, your opponent needs to fold at least 33% of the time, and when you bet a full pot, your opponent needs to fold at least 50% of your time in order for your bluff to be profitable (to have a positive expected value).

You can deviate from standard bet sizing to exploit weaknesses in your opponent’s game. If they overcall, you can size up your bets, or even use an overbet. If they overfold, you can reduce the bet size to give yourself a better risk-to-reward ratio. 

As everything else in poker, context is key. Instead of just following the rules mechanically, always take all the factors in consideration, and figure out how to best achieve the desired effect.

Like with other skills, you’ll get better at it with practice, and eventually you’ll know intuitively which bet size to use in every spot you find yourself in.

Lastly, if you want to know the complete strategy I use to make $1000+ per month in small stakes games, get a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

The Ultimate Poker Postflop Bet Sizing Cheat Sheet