“Why so much?”

Good morning! I hope today is treating you all amazing. In my last post I talked about “All In” moments, which has brought up several questions. So today, I want to talk about bet sizing.

A few weeks ago, I had a player ask me “How do you know the right amount to bet?” well, there really isn’t an easy answer to that. There are a ton of factors to weigh before you figure out “perfect bets”. Let’s start by giving you a list of some of these factors:

  • Position – What position are you currently in. There are 10 positions at the table ranging from seat 1 to seat 10, and all of these positions weigh on your decision making here. Seat 1 (small blind), you better have a premium starting hand before you consider betting here. Seat 2 (big blind), has the same situation as seat 1. Seat 3 (under the gun), if you’re the one betting here, you have 9 people acting after you. This is a place you need to be extra careful. My rule of thumb in this position, “Don’t put chips into the pot if you can’t call a raise with your hand.” I can pretty much do this with every single position at the table.
  • Hand – Preflop starting hands matter. The most important round of betting is preflop. This is where you eliminate as many players as possible. If you want your pocket aces to win, you have to bet enough to get the hands that, by design, draw out and beat aces to fold before they see a flop and crush your dreams.
  • Information – How much have you learned from your table. Have you been at the table long enough to know the type of players you’re playing with? Are there tight players at the table? Do you have the loose cannon that will call everything? Understanding your table will help you determine your bet sizes.
  • Stack Size – How many chips do you have? Are you the chip leader? Are you the short stack? What’s more powerful, a short stack going all in, or that short stack putting half of his chips into the pot? Most people in the short stack situation are looking for the double up, and everyone else at the table knows that. So when they are risking to go even shorter, I tend to look at the hand a little differently. That move says to me that they are trying to keep people in the pot, versus betting all in to get people out. More callers equates to more chips.
  • Pot Size – How does your raise change the pot? Is your raise sized to a decent portion of the pot? How many chips have your opponents already committed to the pot?
  • Scenario – What’s going on in the hand? Are you the button with 2 raises before you? Has an All In happened before you’ve had a turn to act? Are too many people in the hand when you’re turn to act comes?

These are all things you need to factor before you raise. This thought process will help you as you’re advancing as a poker player.

In saying this, there is another line that makes these things less intense. There are concepts that say your raises preflop should be in 3x increments. What that means is that if the blinds are 400-800 and you want to raise, you should be raising it to 2400. If you have additional callers in the hand you’re adding another X for each of those players. Using that situation, the blinds are 400-800 and position 3 and 4 have called. Now there is 2800 in the pot. A raise of 2400 will less likely get these people to fold, but if you make it 4000 to go, now they have to seriously make a decision. There are 5 players in the hand and you’ve made it 5x the big blind. Calling this becomes more of a gamble, and it makes your hand look a lot stronger. However, if you always do everything by the book, people will figure you out, and use that against you.

Here’s a scenario I’d like to share. Last summer I entered a tournament in Las Vegas. Throughout this tournament I was sitting in the 7 seat. I’ve built my stack up to about 120k, I’m not the chip leader at the table, but I’m probably the second biggest stack. This hand in particular, I was dealt Qh-Qd in the small blind. The blinds have crept up to 3000-6000 with a 500 ante. So in this hand I’ve already committed 3500 to the pot. The player in seat 10 (under the gun +1) raises to 12000. The next 2 players fold, then seat 3 (The cut off) calls the 12000, folds to seat 6 (The button) and he calls, it’s also important to note that he’s the chip leader at the table. Now I’m faces with a serious situation. We’re 10 handed so with everyone at the table paying their ante, that’s 5000 in the pot, the small blind and big blind bring it up to 14000. Add the 3 calls of 12000 the pot is a whopping 50k preflop, and there are still 2 of us left to act. My thought process at this point is that the player is the 10 seat had shown us that he likes to build pots and will raise out of position with marginal hands, however, the 6 seat has proven to be a pretty tight player. His call makes me think a little more. I’m not as worried about the button because he’s paying to see the flop expecting me and the big blind to fold. After thinking about this for a few seconds I determine that the pot is too big to just fold, and there are also too many players in the hand for me to just call. So I raise. I make the bet 58000 to call, half my stack at the time. I came to this number based on the size of the pot 50k and still have 4 other players in the hand I knew it couldn’t be just a typical raise. I knew I had to represent strength, but I also had to give myself a chance to bet on the flop if the button ended up calling as he was the chip leader at the table. The big blind folds, seat 3 instantly folds. Seat 6 thinks about it for a second then goes all in for less with 43000. The guy on the button folds. As it turns out, I made the right bet. I found the perfect number to get heads up. We turned the cards over and seat 6 was sitting on 9h-9c. The board came out Ah-Ac-Qs. He needed running 9’s to win and doesn’t hit. There was a lot of information to determine in the hand and having a strong hand helped me there. There is always a chance that I could have been up against KK or AA. Timing and bet sizing are everything in these situations.

There are many scenarios out there and every hand will always be different. My suggestion is, extract as much information as your table is willing to give you. When you’re telling your story at the table, give them as little information as possible. Paying attention will net you nothing but useful information. Making the right bet at the right time can be the difference between a good player and a novice.

Here are some external links for you to continue your research on bet sizing:





I hope that I’ve help your thought process on bet sizing! As always, I will never tell you that I will make you a better player, but I do hope that I’ve helped you look at the game differently! I hope the rest of your week is good and may many pots be pushed in your direction!



I’m All In Too!

Hello! Welcome back!

My last post brought up the idea of “Going All In.” I chose to be very limited on my poker referencing because I wanted you to feel, and to understand your life moments that required a 100% commitment. Those moments, regardless of the outcome, are some of the most important moments in your life.

Just like life, pokers “All in Moments” are extremely important. When you go all in, it’s important to have as much information as possible. It’s important to be prepared for every outcome. It’s also important to keep your emotions in check.

For starters, I want to talk your reasons for going all in. With “all in” being possibly the last bet you may make in any given tournament, or cash game, why put your chip stack on the line? Well, there are a few reasons you can make this kind of bet. First, if you have the absolute “nuts,” and there is no possible way for you to lose. Here’s an example of this: You are dealt 9c 10c on the button. Blinds are 500 and 1000. Middle position has raised it to 4500. Folds around, and you call with a decent mid ranged hand and great position. The big blind calls. The flop comes out 6c 7c 8c. The big blind bets out 5000. Middle position then raises it to 15000. You can expect that at least one of them is going to call your bet if you raise it, so this is a good time to either, milk the hand and get maximum value, or its time to eliminate a player. In a cash game your goal is to extract maximum value here, but in a tournament the goal is to inevitably be the last person standing.

Let’s take a second to think about the hands that would be betting in this situation. If the big blind is betting, you have to put him on 1 of 3 hands: a flopped set, a flopped straight, or a high flush. There are very few hands that should be called from the big blind. You can eliminate AA – JJ based on no second raise pre-flop. The raise from the middle position is generally a pretty easy situation. My thoughts: continuation betting with A K or A Q off suite, one of which could be a club, pocket pair higher than the board, or he has flopped the flush with a Q of clubs or better. Realizing that there is absolutely no way for you to lose this hand, it’s time to eliminate a player, and go all in.

Calling someone’s all in bet can be extremely nerve-wracking… especially when you’re tournament is on the line. So this next situation will concern calling all in pre-flop. If you aren’t holding Q Q/K K/A A you should not be calling someone’s all in pre-flop (yes there are circumstances where “the math” is right but I won’t go into that yet). Notice I didn’t put AK or AQ in there? Where they are good starting hands, they are only good drawing hands… They are not good hands to call someone’s all in with. If your hand losses to 22 you in bad shape. You can expect 1 of 3 things from a player who’s all in pre-flop: 1. they have a decent pocket pair, or are sitting on high cards. 2. they are short stacked looking to double up for survival 3. they are bluffing (this is not a recommendation…).

We all know that AA is “the best starting hand” but did you know that it’s not always the best finishing hand? Let’s say that you’ve made it to the turn with Ah As in middle position and 2 other people are there with you. The board is Jd 9d 10c 6d.  It’s just been checked to you. How comfortable are you with your Ah As? There are a lot of hands you lose to, and all of them could have called a decent pre-flop raise. Here’s a list of hand that could have called your raise: Kd Qd, J J, 9 9, Ad Kd, 10 10, KQ off suite, 7d 8d, 6 6, I could continue on here… The point is, how comfortable are you betting all in here? Can you call someone who raises you all in? I’ve listed 8 hands that you lose to; can you reasonably eliminate a player from calling you with any of them? These are situations you’re trying to avoid, but they do come up. I’m not telling you that you should have gone all in pre-flop. I’m not telling you that they were wrong for calling. What I am saying is that betting “all in” can put you in some bad spots. You need to know your situation, you need to know your opponent, and you need to know the hands you lose to. You need to be prepared to fold AA once in a while… I know it’s painful, but it’s the truth.

Surprisingly enough, betting all in is a lot easier than calling an all in. It’s nice to look down at   A A pre-flop with someone raising big into you. Just like any other raise, you need to always be prepared for someone to call. Be prepared for someone to get lucky. Losing will never feel good, but winning will be exhilarating. There’s no feeling like surviving your all moment… especially when there’s a lot on the line.

At some point you will run into a situation where using the all in bluff will be right, but I would caution that. Traps are designed to be sprung… This is a situation where using all the information you have gathered will be a key element.

Here are a few links to help you in your journey “all in.”




When you do chose to go all in, be committed to it. Accept the wins and accept the losses. Sometimes you will be the one to get lucky, and often times others will. All you can ever hope to do is make the right move, at the right time. If you played your best there will be nothing to be mad at or ashamed of. Don’t let the emotional side of this game control you.

We all know there are several different viewpoints when it comes to playing poker, and I’ll never claim that mine is right, but I do hope that I’ve done and shown you enough to get you thinking about this game differently.

I’d like to finish by saying thank you for reading. You are the reason that I do this! Without you, all this rambling would be for not and I’d like to think my knowledge is useful! Please remember that poker is a game, it should be enjoyed! I hope I’ve helped you even just a little along the way! Have a good day and may many pots be pushed in your direction!


I’m All-In!

Hello out there! Is anyone still listening? Wow, it’s been a while. I guess it’s time to wipe the dust off the key board and start getting more content to you!

For starters, I’d like to say that taking a break is important. I personally used my away time to casually reflect on the past. Through that reflection I’ve learned a few things about myself. It’s strange to think that learning about one’s self is overwhelmingly powerful. As an individual we should be cognitive of our strengths and our weaknesses, but the grey area in between is what gets lost in the repetition of the day to day adventure.

I think it’s safe to say that as we get older we are forgetting more than we are learning. With that said, I needed the time to reflect. I needed to remember why I fell in love with poker. I needed to remind myself why it’s still important to me. Why sharing my ups, my downs and everything in between still matters.

Remember when you were little? Back when you were excited to listen to your grandpa’s stories. He always found a way to make you feel like you were right there with him. The thing I remember the most is how he ended his stories. He always found a way to tie everything together and teach you something. It’s that moment when he tells you the moral of the story. I’ll always remember his stories because of that.

One of my favorite stories was about my grandmother. Before I get into the story, here is a little about her. She was a hard-nosed woman. What she said always went. You never told her no, because you already understood the consequences. This may explain a lot of her success with business. I don’t believe she was afraid of anything- except maybe failure. One of the things she used to hammer into me was ‘Do it as many times as it takes you to do it right, then do it again so you don’t forget’.

Now my grandfather was a lover of motorcycles. To be more specific he loved Harley Davidson’s. For as long as I can remember there was always a Harley in the family. This is a huge contributing factor in my infatuation for them. When I was a kid, my grandmother always stayed off of the motorcycles. I always wondered why… So as the story goes:

One day out on a Nevada salt flat. The family had gathered for a barbecue, and some off road riding. For years my grandfather had been trying to get my grandmother on a bike of her own, but she consistently shut the idea down. So he’d decided that the time was finally right. When the timing was perfect, he’d unveiled his perfect scheme. There was no way she could say no. He’d already bought the bike, and he’d even had it painted in her favorite color. No one in the family knew of his plan, so this would be a major family event. As he pulled the tarp that was covering his prized present, there was nothing but silence… no one cheered, no one clapped, no one even whispered. “Pat, this is for you!” he bellowed. She stared at the bike. Never looking to him, or anyone else, until finally she walked over to the bike with the stare locked in on it. “This is really what you want?” She asked. “It would mean the world to me if you’d ride this bike next to me.”

After some time she finally touched the bike. She ran her fingers across the newly painted tank, continuing to the brown leather seat with the dangling leather tassels. She lifted he leg over, and sat on the bike. Put both hands on the grips, and absorbed the feeling of sitting on the bike. Over the course of this time, no one has said a word other that the two of them. She finally looked over to him and said, “Show me how to start it.” So he walked over and showed her the kick start. He then stepped up onto it, and kicked it in. It fired up first try. The rumble of the V-Twin purred across the open salt flats. He then reached across the bars and pulled the throttle back to open it up a bit and the engine roared to life. A glaze came across my grandmother’s eyes. She replaced his hand and revved the engine. Lifting the kick stand she leveled the bike. She then pulled in the clutch, putting one foot up on the peg below the gear shift petal, and put the bike into gear. Everyone moved away as they knew she was going to ride off. She suddenly released the clutch and she and the bike shot forward down the flats. Faster and faster she went, with everyone staring in awe. Then someone broke the silence and said “She’s yelling something!” The roar of the bike was so loud that no one could make out exactly what she was saying, until finally on one of her passes by the camp, she shrieked “HOW DO I STOP THIS GOD FORSAKEN THING!?” That’s when they all realized she didn’t actually know how to drive the bike! So my grandfather hopped on his bike, to run her down. He chased her for what seemed like an hour, until finally her bike ran out of gas. Once stopped, and with him finally caught up to her, everyone at the camp just watched as she screamed at him and gave him ‘the business’. To this day he still will no tell us what she said to him exactly, but she never got on that bike again…

After many years had passed, I asked my grandmother about that day. The curiosity had been killing me. I asked her what happened, and if the story was true. After a bit of prodding she finally confirmed it all. We shared a laugh, which was a rare occasion, and I finally asked her why she never got back onto the bike. Her response “It only takes going all in one time to realize your mistake.”

Now the moral of this story: Going All-In can be the worst mistake you ever make.

That story makes me laugh every time he tells it. It never gets old. My reflections over that last few months brought me back to that story several times. I’ve made the “All-In” mistake many times in my life, but I’ve also been rewarded by many of those moments. Whether that’s through business, through friendships, or through poker, it’s always taught me something.  Be passionate with everything you do. Give yourself a reason to remember the “All-In” moments in life. Before you go all in, understand that there are only two outcomes. One, you Survive. Surviving is intoxicating. It’s like a drug and you’re always looking for it. You’re always in need of it. Two, you fall. Falling lets you get back up and learn from the mistake. Falling lets you build up the armor protecting you when you are at the next “All-In” moment.

As you come to the conclusion of this post you’ll notice that I have vaguely connected it to poker. We’ll my next blog post will continue on this subject with All-in Poker play… So stay tuned for next week!

Thank you for reading my rants, and thank you for your patience when I’m lost in reflection! Remember that life and poker are one in the same. They are a game. Play well and remember to have fun!