Think hard about the size of your bets
This hand from a $1/$3 no-limit cash game illustrates the importance of carefully considering the size of your bets.
A player in first position raised to $15, and our Hero called from second position with 4h 3h.
Hero’s call was unwise. You should only pay to see the flop with junky drawing hands when you can do it cheaply. Here, it cost Hero five big blinds, which is far from cheap. If Hero actually does improve to a premium hand, and if he’s able to get a lot of money into the pot, he’ll often be crushed by a better made hand, since his flushes or straights would be low ones.
The players in the hijack and cutoff seats called, as did the button and big blind. Six players saw a flop of Ks 7h 2h, which gave Hero a weak flush draw. The big blind and initial raiser checked to Hero, who bet $50 into a pot of Hero’s hand: Flop: $91.
I probably would have made a larger bet of about $70. You should usually bet with your top made hands and draws because it makes you relatively difficult to play against, since your opponents can’t be sure whether you have a premium made hand or an unmade draw. That said, with so many players seeing the flop, there was a chance Hero was up against a bigger flush draw, so he needed to proceed with caution.
Only the big blind called Hero’s bet. The turn was the 6h, completing Hero’s flush. The big blind checked, and Hero bet $75 into a pot of $191.
Again, I would have preferred seeing Hero make a slightly larger bet, perhaps $100. The counterargument is that $75 could be ideal if Hero thought he was up against a marginal made hand that would only call a small bet. One of the skills you must master to beat small-stakes cash games (as I discuss in my new book, “Mastering Small Stakes No- Limit Hold’em”) is to choose the optimal bet size to achieve the result you want. Hero wants to get called by any marginal made hands while also pricing out draws such as Ah 5c. A bet of $100 will usually get Turn: River: called by any king and some middle pairs with flush draws, while also charging the draws a bit more to see the river.
The big blind called. The river was the 10c. The big blind checked, and Hero bet $150 into a pot of $341.
As with the turn, Hero should choose a bet size that stands to be called by worse made hands. At this point, the only realistic made hand that is worse than Hero’s and can call a river bet is top pair. Even then, it can’t call a large bet, so Hero should bet somewhat small. I think $150 may have been too large.
The big blind folded, giving Hero the pot.
The end result was good for Hero, but he only won a modest sum. When you are fortunate enough to make a premium postflop hand, you want the biggest possible payoff. This time, Hero could only go for a small amount of value, because if he bet any larger, he’d probably be called only when he was beaten.