One intermediate concept that you learn about later in poker is bet sizing. As the name implies, bet sizing simply refers to the size of bet that you make in a given situation. For example, if you have pocket aces preflop and you shove your whole stack in, the bet size was your whole stack in this instance. Okay, that was a horrible example, and it’s exactly what you want to avoid with the bet sizing concept.
Instead, your goal should be to make appropriate bet sizes based on a given situation. Taking the aforementioned pocket aces preflop example, most people suggest raising just enough so that you isolate one opponent, yet not so much that you make everybody fold. This helps maximize your advantage with pocket aces, while keeping drawing hands out of the equation.
Depending on the stakes and dynamics of the table you’re at, this amount will differ in every instance. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll say that you are in a $0.25/$0.50 game, and a 4 times the big blind raise should isolate one player without encouraging others to call.
For another example, let’s say that you’re holding As-Qh on a flop of Ad-7h-Jd against one opponent; in this instance, you have top pair and a good kicker, but you are vulnerable to a flush draw (assuming you don’t already think your opponent has a set or two pair). This being the case, you don’t want the opponent to see cards for cheap if they’re on a flush draw, so you should size your bet to offer bad calling odds.
To do this, consider that the opponent has around 4:1 odds of hitting their assumed flush draw, so you need to raise enough to make this a profitable play for you in the long run. If $20 is in the pot, you need to make at least a $6 raise to give them worse pot odds (3.3:1 pot odds).
As you can see, sizing bets properly goes a long way to helping you reach a desired result on the poker table.