Want to understand poker betting?
You’ve come to the right place. 

We all know that poker is about betting and, hopefully, winning poker chips.
But what is the best strategy for betting in poker, and how do you make the most of a good hand?

It’s important to know how to bet in poker, and if it’s done right, your poker betting strategy can actually control the choices other players make.
Let’s take a look. 

If you’d rather watch a video than read a blogpost, here’s a video I made about how to bet in poker.
This blog will continue beneath the video, and go into further detail of how you can make the most of your poker betting. 

Poker betting

What is poker betting?

Starting off small here. More advanced players might wanna skip this paragraph.

‘Poker’ is not just one game, but rather a whole genre of games. The most popular version of poker is called ‘Texas Hold’em’, made popular by film and TV. 

In Texas Hold’em, all players are dealt two cards for them to see but keep a secret.
You then bet on whether your cards are the best. This is called poker betting.

Betting is the main aspect of playing poker and most people probably think of chips being pushed into the middle of a table when thinking of poker. It’s easily the most recognizable aspect of the game. 

It’s also crucial to master if you want to win, so taking the time to understand poker betting and finding the best poker betting strategy will help you a lot.

Let’s get into it. 

Reasons to bet in poker

Betting your chips is how you win new chips. You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
If you try to just cruise through a game of poker without really betting, you’ll just be bleeding chips from the blinds and eventually run out. 

But, you know what they say, sometimes the best defense is a great offense.
The same is true in poker, and as we’re about to see, betting can even be used to control other players and have them play less aggressively. 

There are generally two reasons to bet in poker; to control the pot with a blocking bet or to build the pot with a value bet.

Blocking bet

You can actually guide the choices of your opponent and control the pot by betting.
Sometimes, you’re dealt a hand that might not be great but could turn into something with the right community cards. This means you may want to see a flop or a turn before making the final decision.
But, if you just check or call here, players sitting after you, who feel pretty good about their own cards, might place a large bet. Making it expensive for you to see a flop or turn. 
This is when we place what’s called a blocking bet.

This is a small bet, often around a quarter of the pot, designed to have a physiological effect on your opponents. Although small, this bet shows initiative and will most likely make your opponents think twice before making too large of a bet up front. Allowing you to see more cards without too big an investment. 

Poker betting

Value bet

Alright, but what do you do, when an actual amazing hand comes along? Like when you’re dealt a pair of aces. This is the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em and will most likely win the round. So how do you play a great hand like that?

Poker betting

You of course want to make the most of the hand and try to get a lot of chips in the pot for you to win. But you can’t just go all in right away – that will scare off your opponents causing them to fold and leaving you just the blinds to win. A great hand wasted. 

This is when we use what’s called a value bet. It’s called that, because it aims to increase the value of the pot – without scaring your opponents. Let’s dive into it. 

The opposite of betting in poker

Value betting is a form of poker betting that’s essentially the opposite of bluffing in poker, since this time you actually want the other players to call – or better yet, raise. Bluffing in poker is designed to scare off opponents with a bold and aggressive play, forcing them to fold their otherwise superior hand. But when poker betting, we not only want them to follow along, but ideally have them think it was all their idea and that they are very much on top of the situation.
It’s quite cold, when you think about it. But very effective.

How to value bet

You of course want your value bet to be big enough to grow the pot, but not too big for others to follow. The ideal value for a value bet actually varies, and depends on three things. The strength of your hand, the board and your opponent’s playing style. 

The strength of your hand

If the flop gives you a monster hand like a full house or a flush, you’re probably well on your way to win the round. In this case, your goal should be to get as many players to continue as possible. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ‘slow play’.
If, on the other hand, you get a hand that’s good but not great, like top pairs from the flop you may want to be a little more aggressive with your betting. Although your hand is probably strongest at the moment, future community cards could turn the ties and give your opponents an even stronger hand. 

The board

The 5 community cards, commonly referred to as ‘the board’ can flip a round on its head, turning an otherwise great hand into nothing. So you need to always be aware of your hand.
Let’s say you’re dealt a queen of spades and a queen of diamonds, and the flop comes 2, Q, 6 – all hearts. 

Poker betting

You now have a really strong starting hand, that became three of a kind on the flop. But, since the community cards are all hearts, the risk of an opponent developing a flush is high – and that would render your three queens useless. 

You need to watch out for boards that have cards of the same suit, connectedness or high value, since these could give your opponents strong hands. These kinds of boards are commonly referred to as ‘wet boards’, and in this case you’ll want to play aggressively, getting your opponents to fold and securing you the pot before others make a great hand.

But, if the board is ‘dry’, meaning low value cards of different suits and no real connectedness, your pair of queens is still looking strong – and you can take your time.

Opponent’s playing style

The last thing to consider when poker betting a great hand is your opponent’s playing style. If you’re playing against what we call a ‘tight player’, someone who doesn’t like to bet or bluff, you’ll probably be best off playing it slow. So you don’t scare them away. 

Poker betting

But, if you’re playing against a more loose/aggressive player, who likes to raise, bluff and see many flops, you may want to be more aggressive, in an effort to challenge them and have them pile chips to the pot.

Digital poker set

Now that you know the basic strategy of poker betting, you should try our free EasyPoker app. It’s a digital version of the physical poker set you know and love – but this poker set is always with you and fits right into your pocket. 

We don’t facilitate gambling, and you only play against your friends – so it’s really the perfect poker app for friends to practice their poker skills. 

It’s meant for physical poker nights, but with features like our built in voice chat, it works great for digital poker nights as well. 

You should try it – it’s free. 

Poker betting

More poker betting & bluffing

Now that you know how to use poker betting to either control or build the pot, your game will instantly improve. But you can also use betting to bluff in poker, allowing you to win hands even with weak cards. Bluffing in poker is perhaps the biggest difference between good and great players, and we’ve got the blogs and videos to teach you both how to bluff in poker – and how to spot when someone is bluffing

Let’s have a look 👇👀

How to bluff
Poker positions