“Most poker books read like a math textbook. This one reads like Cosmo.”
Among the brand new offerings for 2020 from D&B Poker is A Girl’s Guide to Poker by Amanda Botfeld. Written with women players in mind, the book contains much of value for anyone keen to learn beginning strategy, teaching all of the fundamentals and then some via short, accessible chapters and quizzes.
Nicknamed the “Bridget Jones” of poker, Botfeld’s work has been previously published The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post. With A Girl’s Guide to Poker she aims to encourage more women to “turn the tables” (so to speak) and join the game.
The following excerpt discusses preflop raising and how to continue on the flop, with the section title highlighting the focus of the discussion — bet sizing.
Betting poker chips is like shopping at Victoria’s Secret — one size does not fit all. Sizing correctly is an art form, giving the hand its shape. I’ll take a lace push-up.
Proper bet and raise sizing starts pre-flop – especially when there are limpers!
A standard pre-flop raise size is 3x the big blind but you will need to modify depending on whether several players limp or are call-happy. If only poker was easy!
Live casino games will usually have players raising a bit bigger, and online tables favor 2.2-2.5x (button-clicking is easier than chip-counting). Tournament bets and raises may also be sized a bit smaller, in the 2.2–2.5x range.
Avoid the minraise! One of the biggest faux paus in poker is minraising — exactly doubling a raise ($2 to $4). It’s not the most profitable way to play, and people will make fun of you for it, laughing secretly or overtly. Don’t have people snickering under their breath or in your face. Don’t minraise.
Always raise bigger if there are limpers!
Generally, you can raise one big blind for every limper in the pot — if one person limped ahead of you at a $1/2 game, raise to $8 instead of $6. Adjustments may need to be made on the fly, but always raise larger if many people limped in front of you. Whether you raise to $7 or $10 is a game-time decision. When in doubt, bigger is better.
When you raise pre-flop, you are telling the story you have a good hand. Post-flop, people expect you to continue with that story — as you often should. And you want the sequel to be even better than the original.
If you were the pre-flop raiser, betting after the flop is called a continuation bet, or c-bet.
Do this when facing only a few opponents (ideally just one, or two at most), because it’s more likely you have the best hand or can get away with a bluff. It’s nearly impossible to bluff five players — and unnecessary. No one needs to bluff five players or date five boyfriends. Too much work!
Adjust your c-bet size to flop texture (translation: change how much you bet based on the board).
Dry Flop: Bet Small, 1/3-pot
K♣8♠3♥ is a very “dry” flop since there aren’t any flush draws or straight draws. Players will either have a pair or they won’t; there isn’t a point in betting big.
Normal Board: Bet 1/2-pot
A♦3♦J♠ is a pretty typical flop. There’s a flush draw, some likely pairs, and a few one-card (“gutshot”) straight draws (e.g. a hand like K♣Q♠ needs a ten for a straight, or 4♣5♣ needs a deuce). The cards are somewhat coordinated.
Wet Board: 80%-pot to Full Pot Plus
8♠7♠6♠ is the kind of board that gives poker players nightmares. It is extremely coordinated and will connect dangerously with many hands. There are plenty of likely pairs, two pairs, sets, pair plus straight draws, straight draws, pair plus flush draws, and flush draw combos. If you have a strong hand, bet big.
Bet larger on “wet” coordinated boards to charge draws.
Standard c-bet size is 1/2-pot.
What a Girl Wants
The most important thing to keep in mind when betting is knowing what you want. Do you want people to call? Choose a size you think they will pay. Do you want them to fold? Don’t bet too small then — make it extra large so they toss away all their “maybe baby” hands. Sizing may seem random when you’re first starting — and that’s okay. Focus on your intention rather than exact numbers. Try and decide what you want to have happen (get calls or get folds), because that thought process will come in handy for the future. Think ahead!
A Girl’s Guide to Poker by Amanda Botfeld is available today in paperback or as an e-book at D&B Poker.
D&B Publishing (using the imprint D&B Poker) was created by Dan Addelman and Byron Jacobs 15 years ago. Since then it has become one of the leading publishers of poker books with titles by Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Little, Mike Sexton, Chris Moorman, Dr. Patricia Cardner, Lance Bradley, Greg Raymer, Dylan Linde, Ashley Adams, Martin Harris and more, all of which are available at D&B Poker.