Upsides of Using Big Sizing on the Flop – Top Tips by Upswing Poker
Last Updated: December 1, 2023
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The game of poker has changed and evolved a lot over the years. Ideas and strategies for Texas Hold’em have seen major transformations in almost all aspects.
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably know that one of the biggest changes that came about fairly recently was with regards to the flop c-bet sizing.
These days, you’ll see many of the best poker players using very small continuation bets of one-third of the pot or less.
This wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, only weak players used these small sizes. But, as things evolved, small c-bets found their way into standard strategies for two main reasons:
- It’s easier to understand and execute them properly, and
- They still make money while exposing you to very little risk.
So, if you consider these two factors, the question is, is there ever a reason to deviate and bet big on the flop? We try to offer an answer to that question in the rest of this article.
3. Making Things More Difficult for Your Opponents
Small continuation bets are easy to execute, but they’re also very easy to play against. When betting small, you’ll rarely put your opponent in a difficult spot.
For example, on a flop of A♥K♣5♦, if you bet very small, it will be easy enough for them to continue with any pair and gutshot straight draws like J♠10♠.
But if you were to bet big, for a full pot or even bigger, you’ll put them in a blender.
Most players don’t face these situations frequently, so they won’t know what the right play is. This will force them to make bigger mistakes (for more big blinds), making your strategy profitable.
2. Big Bets Work Better in Some Spots
The trend of small flop bets entered poker through solvers. With the help of programs such as PioSolver, players were able to devise solid betting strategies for different scenarios fully backed by the theory behind the game.
And the reason solvers like smaller bets is because it makes it easier to break down all these different scenarios and come up with the most +EV theoretical plays.
What often happens is that the solver output for a small and a big bet on the flop results in a very similar EV, which leads players to believe that they can just choose whichever they prefer.
In reality, though, this isn’t always the case.
Solver solutions are based on the assumption you’re playing against a player with the perfect knowledge of GTO.
Since this is almost never the case, big bets can actually work better in some situations and against certain opponents, resulting in much higher EV.
1. Being Unpredictable Can Work Against Advanced Players, Too
The big bet strategy can work well against advanced players, too. When you use a big sizing, this will often be something they don’t expect and haven’t prepared for.
Looking at the earlier example, on the board of A♥K♣5♦, if you over-bet the pot, they might not know what to do with hands like weak aces or gutshot straights with backdoor flush draws.
The key is to keep up the pace and continue to evolve and grow together with the game.
Looking at the recent trends, figuring out how to come up with creative (but effective) bet sizing might be one of the best ways to keep your head above the water.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic and pick up some more useful tips for your games, definitely check out the Upswing Poker Lab.