Poker Lesson 27

How to measure betting before and after the flop

This will be a short lesson, to make you pay attention to one particular but important aspect of poker theory: that you basically measure the betting in two different ways, before and after the flop respectively. (I will return to this subject many times in the future when we start examining the concept of pot odds more closely.)

Before the flop, any raise or re-raise is measured in relation to the big blind. If the blinds are 10-20 and you raise to 60, you have raised to three times the size of the big blind (often written out as 3 x BB). And if another player re-raises you to 200 even, it is to 10 x BB.

Note that the sizes of the bets and raises as such have no real relevance. If you raise to 160, that number is only meaningful if you also know the size of the blinds. If the blinds are 10-20, a raise to 150 means 8 x BB which is a hefty raise indeed; if however the blinds are 40-80 right then, a raise to 160 is only 2 x BB which is a "minimum raise", meaning the smallest possible one you may do. It goes without saying that the higher the raise or re-raise in relation to the big blind, the more respect you should give it as a ground rule.

After the flop, and also after the turn and the river, any bets and raises are instead measured in relation to the pot. If there is 640 in the pot right then and you bet out 400, the bet is a little over 60% of the pot. Once again the pure number of any bet or raise, such as "400", is meaningless without knowing how much is in the pot at that moment (and knowing what other bets and/or raises previous players have put in).

It would be like saying you paid 400 for let's say a wrist watch during a trip abroad, without stating in what currency: 400 US dollars would mean a respectable prize; 400 Colombian pesos would not.

Keep this little "mathematical" aspect in mind for the future, when we delve more deeply into poker theory in general and Texas hold'em theory in particular.