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How to Recognize Live Cash Game Preflop Sizing Tells – Top Tips by Upswing Poker

upswing poker live sizing tells

3 minutes

Posted by: Ivan

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One common tendency that you might notice in low-stakes cash games is that most of your opponents will have certain sizing tells before the flop.

They aren’t that hard to spot, either, if you know what to look for.

In this article, we’ll look into some of the most common live sizing tells you’ll likely find at $1/2 and $2/5 cash games across the board. 

Pay Attention to Variable Bet Sizing

At almost every live table you join at lower stakes, there will be at least a few players who tend to vary their preflop sizing based on the strength of their starting hands.

Their sizes will be inconsistent, and you’ll probably notice them limping some of the time as well.

If you can spot and correctly interpret these tendencies, you can gain a significant edge over these players. Pay special attention to the hands that go to a showdown, as this will soon give you a good idea of how they come up with their decisions before the flop.

As an example, you notice a $1/3 player varying their preflop sizing, and after a while, you pick up the following information:

  • They raised to $15 from a late position with K9
  • They limped in with a small pocket pair like 33 from UTG
  • From the button, they opened to $9 with A10
  • They opened to $7 from the cutoff with J9

While it is dangerous to make strategy adjustments based on a small hand sample, you can gain a lot of information from these observations.

live preflop sizing tells

There is a clear pattern here, where their raises tend to be bigger when they have stronger holdings. It also seems like their go-to strategy for small pocket pairs from an early position is to limp and see what develops.

Perhaps noticing these things won’t help you too much during a short session (although it might).

But if you play for many hours or, even better, if this player is a regular fixture in your game, knowing this and adjusting your strategy to their tendencies can help you absolutely crush them.

Key Sizing Tell Adjustments

Once you recognize a certain pattern, you’ll want to adjust your strategy against that player accordingly. Some quick adjustments you can make are:

  • 3-bet more against small opening sizes as these often indicate a mediocre hand.
  • Keep your 3-bets on the tighter side when facing a big preflop raise.
  • Attack their limps with a wide range if you know they only do it with weak hands (like small pocket pairs and suited connectors) and don’t have any monsters in their limping range.

Another way to make money from preflop sizing tells is by saving money. If you know someone uses big sizing only when they have big hands, you’ll want to over-fold against them in these scenarios.

preflop sizing tells in live poker

There is absolutely no reason to get involved in situations where you know you’re up against a strong range when you’ll have many better spots against that same opponent.


Adjusting your strategy based on preflop sizing tells can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. Keep in mind, though, that this will only work against relatively weak players.

Tougher opponents will mix things up, and a more balanced approach will always work better against them.

So, the bottom line is that you should start paying more attention before the flop and looking for these types of tells. It won’t be long before you start noticing positive results from these adjustments!

If you’d like to learn more about effective adjustments based on preflop raise sizes and check out some more examples, be sure to read the full Upswing article on this very interesting topic!

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