The best poker players in the world have a seemingly unlimited amount of weapons in their arsenal.
One of those weapons is the tiny bet size (about 10-20% of the pot).
When used in the right situations, tiny bets can be an incredibly efficient way to deny equity, leverage your range advantage, and narrow your opponent’s range.
In this article, I am going to show you 3 situations in which you should start using tiny bet sizes to increase your win-rate.
Spot #1: 4-Bet Pots (On Ace-High Flops)
4-bet pots are very unique to other situations in poker. Because of the low stack-to-pot ratio (SPR), the optimal bet size is usually around 25-33% pot.
However, you should actually use an even smaller c-bet size on Ace-high boards.
Because your 4-bet range will include Pocket Aces, Ace-King, and some Ace-Queen, you have a massive range advantage over your opponent. At the same time, you won’t have very many potentially bluffing hands in your range.
At equilibrium, this means that you cannot bet big because there aren’t enough bluffs to balance out your value range. If you did bet big, your opponent could easily counter you by folding very often, even with pretty decent hands. In other words, you make their life very easy. Small bets, on the other hand, make their life hard.
Let’s take a look at an example with the aid of a solver.
Suppose you raise from the Cutoff and the Button 3-bets. You 4-bet after the action folds back to you and the Button calls. The flop comes A♥ T♠ 5♣.
I gave the solver 7 different bet sizing options for this spot to see which one it used most frequently. Take a look:
This a snapshot of the how the solver plays this situation when it has 7 bet sizes to choose from.
As you can see, the most frequently-used bet size is 98 chips (into a 490 chip pot). That’s a 20% pot-sized bet.
Going back to what I was talking about before about how you almost don’t have any bluffs, take a look at the range breakdown for the Cutoff:
12.5% of the range is King-high or worse. The rest of the range (87.5%) is at least a second pair, and those hands have decent equity.
Because of this range breakdown, it’s better to mesh your whole range together in a tiny c-bet size. This puts a lot of pressure on your opponent’s range and doesn’t let them off the hook easily with marginal hands.
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Spot #2: 3-Bet Pots (On Ace-High Flops)
Similar to 4-bet pots, the driving reasons for using tiny bet sizes in 3-bet pots on Ace-high boards are:
- Tight, value-heavy range
- Low stack-to-pot ratio
Imagine you 3-bet from the Small Blind against a Middle Position open, and that Middle Position player calls. The flop comes A♦ J♦ 8♣.
Your range is so strong on this board that you will be practically gasping for bluffs. As a result, the best approach is an aggressive one.
You can simply c-bet your entire range to extract the value for a puny size of just 15% of the pot. Here’s a visualization from the solver:
The pot is 190 chips and the solver elects to fire a 28 chip bet (15% pot) the vast majority of the time. In practice, I’d simplify this strategy by betting that size with my entire range.
The range distribution is very similar to the previous one:
Only around 14.5% of the range is a non-made hand. The rest of the hands are at least a pocket pair above the 8 on the flop (Pocket Tens/Pocket Nines).
This tiny bet size is amazing for putting maximum pressure on the Middle Position’s range.
Note: To defend against this size often enough, your opponent would need to call with all the pocket pairs with a diamond in them (including something like 2♦ 2♥). I think it’s safe to say that most players will be folding many of those hands. That means that this strategy is not only optimal at equilibrium, but it’s a good exploitative strategy as well.
Spot #3: Donk-betting On Certain Turns
Donk-betting is when you lead from out of position into the aggressor from the previous street. In many cases, donk-betting is (accurately) seen as a fishy play (hence the name).
That being said, there are a few scenarios in which donk-betting is actually the proper strategy to use.
Those scenarios follow a pretty clear pattern: when the board runs out in such a way that the caller picks up a nut advantage, he should start donk-betting. Usually that bet should be quite small.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Suppose the Button opens and you defend from the Big Blind. The board comes A♣ K♥ 9♦. The Button c-bets 75% of the pot and you check-call. The turn brings a second King, the K♦.
In this spot, you will find yourself holding trips quite often, even more often than your opponent. This is because you will always check-call your Kx hands on the flop, but the Button will usually check back (or at least bet smaller) with his Kx hands.
If you always check and never donk-bet, here, the Button will always have the option to check back. This allows him to realize equity with a ton of marginal hands and draws while betting with a polarized range. This can hurt you in two ways:
- His large bet sizing will deny the equity of your draws.
- When he checks and you have trips, you miss the opportunity to build the pot.
Because you have the nut advantage on this card, you can take away the lead in this hand by donk-betting for a small size. You can even do so with 100% of your range in order to leverage that advantage.
Let me first show you the range breakdown between the two players:
Big Blind Range Breakdown:
Button Range Breakdown:
You can see here that the Big Blind has about twice as many trips-or-better hands compared to the Button. And what is not shown in these images is that he also has a very large equity advantage.
These two factors combined are what drive the highly aggressive leading strategy. Here is a visual representation of the turn strategy for the Big Blind:
Here, you can see that the solver leads 90% of the range for a size between 10-20% of the pot.
The middle card pairing on the turn is one of the most consistent patterns for implementing donking strategies, so make sure to keep this in mind while playing.
Want to learn more about this turn donking strategy? Check out This Poker Cheat Code Will Help You Win More Hands.
As you can see, tiny bet sizes have their place in the game. While they are not common everywhere, implementing these bet sizes in the correct spots will certainly help you win more money in the long run.
That’s all I have for you for now! I hope you learned something new from this article. As usual, if you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below!
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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