The preflop bet sizing in NL Hold’em tourneys

One of the greatest features of NL Hold’em games is that the player can choose the amount of bets and raises, which is only limited by the stack size. In this article I review the proper preflop bet sizes. It is a generally accepted concept that the proper preflop bet size is between 3 and 5 BB. In general you should always bet the same amount, because if you vary your bet sizes preflop, the good players can easily spot that, and they will be able to obtain very valuable information.

The best is to always bet 3BB and for every limper you should count a further BB. So if you bet with two limpers in front of you, then you should raise to 5BB. This is the proper way at the early stages of tournaments, when you should always play a little tighter. So in the early stages you should play fewer hands, but bet them harder.

As we move further in the tourneys, and the blinds are increasing, and the antes come in the picture, the blind stealing will have a greater importance, so you should play a little looser, and you should raise with a little more hands, and try to get the blinds without fight. At these stages the 3-5x raises will be too high, so you shouldn’t raise so big amounts. Our main goal will be to steal the blinds without fight as many times as possible. If nobody has anything, then the 2-2,5x raises will be more than enough, but if they reraise us, then we can get out of the hand relatively cheap. So in the later stages of the tourneys we should raise more times, but less amount, the size of our bet shouldn’t exceed 2-2,5BB. This amount applies on KT and AA as well. So don’t fall into the trap, that with the strong hands you raise bigger, because the good opponents spot this very quickly. The only exception, where we can raise a little bit more, when it’s folded to us on the button and the blinds are short stacked, and we would call their all-in anyways. At this situation we can raise to 3BB indicating the blinds, that we won’t fold if they push back to us.

I hope you found this article useful, and you will apply this concept in the tournaments. Believe me, the small raises can be very efficient, if nobody has anything, but you can save a lot of money, when your opponents have better cards. And the most important thing, that the sizes of the raises should always be the same, because you can provide a lot of information to your opponents, if you vary your bet sizes depending on the strength of your cards.

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