October 28, 2023 Poker Strategy, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Bet Sizing in Poker Tournaments – When to bet small and when to size up?

In our latest poker strategy article, poker coach John “WhatA298” explains bet sizing in poker tournaments, so that you know when to bet small, and when to use a larger sizing.

Betsizing in Poker Tournaments

Choosing which betsize to use, is a very important skill, in all forms of poker.

When to bet small in poker tournaments?

A small sizing, is generally considered to be, between 10% and 33% of the potsize.

This sizing is so small, in relation to the pot, that it can rarely be a bad bet, and if you don’t know what size to use, a small size will usually be a good option.

That said, there are board textures which make significant sense to bet small on.

Generally, dry boards (not many hands have hit) or static board textures (not many hands are likely to improve over future streets).

Here are a few examples:

3-of-a-kind boards

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Paired boards

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High Card Rainbow Boards

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Monotone Boards

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Disconnected Rainbow Boards

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All of these boards are hard to hit, and therefore a small bluff is likely to be very profitable.


When holding a weak-made hand, the only way to get value on these boards is to bet small, and you are unlikely to get played back at too heavily, due to the difficulty of hitting the board.

With a strong hand, betting small is often the only way to get any value on these types of boards.

Therefore, a small sizing makes some sense with all your possible holdings.


As well as these board textures, small sizes should be favoured, in the following situations:

  • When SPR is lower
  • 3bet/4bet pots and squeezed pots
  • In ICM situations, such as the bubble or the final table
  • When In Position

Exploitatively, it makes sense to use the small sizing more readily with your weaker holdings (bluffs and weak-made hands), as opponents rarely exploit this, and in a vacuum, these hands prefer the smaller sizing.

Your bluffs get a cheap price, and you keep your opponents’ range wide for future streets, which allows future street bluffing opportunities.

Your weak-made hands get a little bit of value, along with some protection and increased ease of playability.

When to use a larger sizing in poker tournaments?

Larger sizings are more appropriate on wet, dynamic textures, such as:

Two-tone Connected Boards

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High Boards

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Connected Boards


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