Bet Types in Poker

Understanding the fundamental bet types in Poker is a key to successful players. The psychology of poker is very much present in its betting patterns.

Understanding the fundamental types of bets in Poker is key to successful offline and online poker players. Indeed, every single bet that happens around a poker table is generally done for a specific reason – scare opponents, entice them to raise, show strength, and so on!

The psychology of poker is very much present in its betting patterns. When we say that a player is aggressive, that’s because their bet types follow a specific pattern. So knowing what types of bet an opponent is placing is as valuable as knowing which type of bets you should respond with.

There are nine important bet types in poker although the six most important ones are value bets, continuation bets, slow plays, overbets, all-in, and pot bets.

Type of BetDefinitionBet range
Value betBets for raising the pot1/2 pot
Continuation betBets on pre-flop and flop1BB
Probe betBets out-of-position for pre-flop raise1BB
Slow playRiver raise after check-calling1BB
OverbetBets that are higher than pot value2x pot
Pot betBets equal to the pot value1x pot
Three-betRe-raise on pre-flop3x pot
All-in betBetting every chip from player’s stack5x-10x pot
Donk betOut-of-position flopped bets1x pot
Common types of bets in Poker.

Whilst there are a dozen popular poker variants, this article focuses on Texas Holdem which is, by far, the most-played type of poker. Most of these betting types are available in other variations, too.

Value Bet

Making your opponents bring up the pot is an art since you want them to feel comfortable enough to part with their chips. Value bets are great for making everyone in the table think you are not a threat by raising half the pot size or bet as close to the maximum value as possible. You can see this value bet as 1/2 or 1x pot on the flop.

One example of when to make value bets is having high ranked hole cards like QJ while the flop shows 5QK. In this scenario, you have a good valued Q pair during the flop and can beat most Q pairs because of your J kicker if the turn and river do not show any J. Opponents holding a 5 or mid-ranked pocket pairs below 10 will have no problem calling your value bet if the stake is within a reasonable amount.

Value bets happen when players see their hands to be better than what other people have during the flop. Take note of how they treat turn or river raises. Checking or calling during the later streets indicates a value bettor feeling threatened by the draws, opening an opportunity for a profitable response.

Continuation Bet

Raising before the flop and during the flop is a C bet, also referred to as a continuation bet. Players attempt this bet when they have a good range on their hole cards and sees an opportunity with the flop. Those who call or raise their pre-flop tend to marry any hand, even bad ones, by calling again. C-bets can be seen as 1x BB on the pre-flop and flop.

Pulling off a C bet comes down to understanding poker positions and knowing when you have the advantage. Having one As / K / Q card with 10 or higher cards and pocket pairs are reasonable ranges for a pre-flop raise. Raise again on the flop when you connected with the cards to form a strong pair or two pair hands. Players calling your C bet tend to overestimate their cards as well as chasing a straight or flush. C bets are also devastating late in the game when blinds are high and players calling the BB are pressured to fold.

Carefully consider your hole cards before calling anyone’s C bet. Avoiding any pressure to call/fold involves holding better cards to match your opponent’s bet strength and calling their bluffs safely. Otherwise, fold when you feel your hole cards are weak before the flop.

Probe Bet

Aggressive players who bet pre-flop and checked upon the flop tend to miss finding a good combination with their hole cards. Probing is a technique for semi-bluffing an opponent into thinking you connected with the flop and are waiting on a good draw at the last two streets. 1x pot on post-flop is an indicator of a probe bet.

While probe bets only occur on the turn and river, successfully winning a hand with this type of bet involves being familiar with blockers. As the name suggests, these cards can stop other players from forming strong hands. Here is a good example when the flop is 586. One effective blocker set is an 84 that lets you cover a potential straight and the best pair of the flop from other players. You can profit out of their missed opportunity with a probe bet on the turn or river.

You can give a strategic answer to a probe bet with a decent flop or draw. In the case of 586 flop and 10 turn, calling with 9 or higher cards are ideal since it can lead to a better pair or even a higher straight. Otherwise, checking with the lower pair on the flop is a good idea.

Slow Play

Presented with a good hand on the flop such as 85J and 88, players tend to check or call on the flop and turn while raising on the river. Players doing are aiming for a slow play, which is a method to trick opponents into making them comfortable in raising their bets. Slow play bets are 1x pot during the river.

When you have quads or even the coveted straight flush on the flop, you are set for a slow play method since the strategy calls for a good hand during the early street.  You do not need to make any careful considerations at this point, just keep checking and calling until you get to the river where you bet half the pot or go all-in. When the river comes, properly sized bets can make opponents call your raise.

People going for slow play tend to think they have the best possible hand on the flop. Chances are high that slow players have a straight or flush on the flop. With the right blocker to get a slightly better hand when the river hits, you can make bank on any players who think they are ahead on the flop.

Overbet

Intimidation is the name of the game when it comes to over bets, which often occurs during the river. Over bets are usually 2x pot value or more when the last street comes up. People with a decent range use this play to bluff, threatening players to fold or make them think twice about the value of their hand. Anyone using the value bet, C bet, or other betting strategies can over bet on the river to maximize their chip potential.

Efficient use of over bet boils down to two goals: making your opponent call your bet or bluff them to fold. Combining over bet with other bet types such as three-bet, value, and C bet makes it easy for you to pressure anyone to marry a bad hand during the river.

Knowing a player’s betting pattern and their response to large bets can give you a good grasp on whether their river bet is genuine or just a bluff. Be wary of aggressive players using c bets or three bets as they tend to also raise twice the pot value on the river. When you have the nuts on the river, you can deliver a proper response to over bettors.

Three-Bet

Players responding to a raise with a higher raise is considered a three-bet play and usually happens on the early streets. Three bets come in at 3x BB since the raise is a response to calling and raising the BB. Four bets can also occur when a player re-raises a three-bet.

Pulling off a three-bet play involves value bets for strong hands and semi-bluffs for decent ranges on the flop. Strong hands such as pocket pairs or high-ranged cards such as AK and Q A are good opportunities for a three-bet value. However, consistently using it with value bets can tip other players that you are the largest threat on the table. Switching up your three-bet with semi-bluff hands can make others lower their guard. Semi-bluff hands within a mid-range position can save you from strong connecting flops if you are within a flush or straight draw.

Having a good pre-flop range while being familiar with players’ betting habits lets you create a good response to a three-bet. Timid players making a pre-flop three-bet while consistently checking and calling should be treated with caution. On the other hand, aggressors often play with a decent range and can be taken out with a strong pair or trips on the later streets.

Pot Bet

Raising the current amount of the pot is a pot bet and is usually done on the pre-flop. Just like the name indicates, pot bets are raises equal to the current 1x pot value upon the player’s turn. For example, the pot is sitting at $100 opponent A bets $10 while opponent b bets $50. At your turn, you bet $160 to do a pot bet.

You can capitalize on your pot bet with the proper sizing on the flop. Betting half the pot value lets you kick our stragglers looking for a turn or river comeback while getting some value out of your range. Go for more than half the pot value when there are a few opponents on the board and are playing well within the appropriate range. A good range to get more value out of your pot bet would be 10Q with a K610 flop

Having a good range on the pre-flop is crucial when responding to a legitimate pot bet. Keep a close eye on aggressors who consistently do C bets or three-bets. You can catch them with their pants down by three-betting or four betting their pot bet while having a good range.

All-In Bet

Heart rates go through the roof when players “go all-in”, which is a bet that contains every single chip a player currently has. All-in bets can occur in any street, though they often appear on the river. Players using a slow play method tend to get as much value as possible with their strong hand by going all-in at the last street.

Flops are a good place to go all-in when you manage to make serious connections with your hole card. Your goal with the massive bet sizing is to get opponents waiting for a good draw on the turn and river to fold while you still have the early advantage. You can also get the most out of an all-in bet as a bluff if you are playing conservatively and have a decent range for protection. All-in bets with a slow play are not advisable since you could miss getting a significant value on your strong hand.

Responding to players committing themselves to their hand comes down to their betting size frequency. Aggressors who keep making pre-flop large bets tend to become overconfident of their hole and are open to players with a good range. All-in rivers are very risky. Call if you have the best possible hand during the last street.  

Donk Bet

Re-raising a BB who made a pre-flop bet out of position during the flop is referred to as a donk bet, which is often half the pot value. Donkeys or donk are terms for bad players or beginners who tend to make the outside position bet during the flop, turn, and river. Non-beginners avoid the donk bet since you can lose the opportunity to increase the pot from aggressors who tend to c-bet or check-raise on the flop.

Professional players use the donk bet to play mind games with everyone around the table. Lead bets on the aggressor will make them second guess future c-bets when they are threatened with a false strong flopped hand. You can throw out this type of bet to go for a long game strategy when an opportunity for an effective slow play or value bet. Using donk bets early game in the game is recommended since the risks and blinds are low.

Knowing your range and players’ behavior lets you form a good response to donk bets on any street. Early donks tend to come from players making a good or decent flopped hand. Call if you are in a good range for trips, flush, or straights draw.

Types of Bets in Poker – FAQ

If you are interested in poker betting patterns, you are no longer a beginner. Being aware of what types of poker bets are available to you in any given hand is important in order to rake in consistent wins.

Here are the most common questions answered as concisely as possible!

When to go all-in in poker?

Going all-in comes down to how confident you are with your standing. However, do not mistake your level of confidence to be the same as the value of your hole cards or your entire hand.

While it makes sense to go all-in with As Kd / Ah Qc / Ks Qh, or pocket pair holes, you can still get the edge with low valued cards when you get a good grasp of your opponent’s betting pattern. Look for people who consistently fold when someone raises. You can take advantage of players’ hesitation when you go all-in while having a safety net from a decent pair or two pair hand.

What is a continuation bet in poker?

Betting pre-flop and on the flop is a continuation bet or C bet, which aggressors use to make players fold on the flop while leaving a sizable pot. C Bet is an effective intimidation method when you have a good range during the first two streets and are looking to avoid possible comebacks on the turn or river.

Proper C bets require good hole hands such as Kh Jd or Ac 10h while making a pre-flop bet that is equal to the pot or higher. Connecting with the flops to form a pair with your strong cards or even formidable trips are green signals to complete the C bet.

What does slow playing a hand mean?

Slow play involves a strong flopped hand while consistently checking and calling until the turn. You bet the pot value during the river to initiate the play. Players attempting this method is removing any notion of strength or strength coming from his direction to avoid scaring away any potential chips.

People getting hit by a slow play tend to look for a draw on the river such as a pair or are thinking they made a significant hand on the flop. C bettors and value bettors are often the victims of the play since they believe a large bet on the river is a bluff.

Is going all-in a good poker betting strategy?

Two situations will help you capitalize on an all-in bet with the first that forces your opponents to fold. Threatening players with the heavy bet on the flop while making good connectors with your hole allows you to end the match before your opponents get a draw on the turn or river.

All-in bets can also save you when you lose more than half your chip pile. Take advantage of a good hole hand as soon as you receive it instead of waiting to pay the BB or SB to bet everything.

What Texas Hold’em betting strategy do professional players use?

Pro players have specific play styles for certain games. Cash games for example are like fast food for any professionals where they are willing to experiment with new strategies such as slow play and an all-in bet on the river.

Tournaments are a battlefield, not a playground. Expect pro players to use a mixture of plays and strategies that works with high tension games such as c bets and three bets.

Expect only the best possible plays in deep stack tournaments where the stake and blinds are high. Probe bets and over bets allow pros to easily overwhelm inexperienced players during this game.

Is it better to slow play strong hands in poker?

When used in the right situation, slow plays can lead to a big payout. Trapping aggressors who consistently do three-bets and C bets is one good example. Raising on the flop or turn can pressure active players to fold instead of betting on the two streets.

Be wary of doing slow plays while there are many hands at play. While you have a strong pre-flopped hand, your chances of winning go down when more than one opponent is waiting for a threatening draw on the last two streets.  

Winning a poker tournament or even a cash game involves using different bet types and not relying on one to avoid telegraphing your intentions. You can get the most out of any betting strategy by knowing your current pre-flop or flopped card range and being familiar with your opponents’ betting habits.