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StrategyPoker Basics

How to Calculate a \'Pot Size\' Raise

Introduction

In this article
  • What a pot size raise is
  • How to raise to pot size
  • How to raise by size

A pot size raise is a bet/raise that gives your opponent 2:1 pot odds (at best). We'll come back to the "at best" later.

A lot of players have trouble differentiating between raising to and raising by the size of the pot. This is seen in numerous form threads in the PokerStrategy.com Forum. This article will clear up the matter and show you two simple ways to calculate the correct amount of a pot size bet.

Raising to pot size

A lot of rooms have players raise to a given amount, i.e. you raise to the amount you enter. This section will show you to quickly determine the amount to enter to make a pot size raise with such software.

To make a pot size raise, raise to: 3 * size of opponent's bet/raise + size of pot before your opponent's bet/raise was made.
EXAMPLE 1

You are heads up and in position on the flop. Your opponent bets $7; $15 were already in the pot. You have a strong hand on a draw heavy board and need to protect. A pot size raise is calculated as follows:

3 * size of opponent's bet/raise + size of pot before your opponent's bet/raise was made:
$21 (3*$7) + $15 = $36

You raise to $36. After your raise the pot will be at $58 ($15+$7+$36). Your opponent would have to pay $29 ($36-$7) to call with $58:$29 = 2:1 pot odds.

EXAMPLE 2

You are heads up and out of position on the flop. You bet $12; $15 were already in the pot. Then your opponent minraises to $24.

Use the same formula to calculate a pot size bet for this situation:

3 * size of opponent's bet/raise + size of pot before your opponent's bet/raise was made:
$72 (3*$24)+ $15 = $87

After your raise the pot will be at $126 ($15+ $24 + $87) and your opponent must pay $63 ($87-$24) to call. Once again, you are giving him 2:1 pot odds.

EXAMPLE 3

Now it's time to talk about the "at best." Let's look at what happens when more than one opponent is in the hand and both have made different sized wagers in the current betting round.

You are in position in a 3-way pot on the flop. There are $15 in the pot at the start of the betting round. The first opponent bets $5. The next opponent raises to $15. If you make a pot size raise so that Player 2 will only be getting 2:1 pot odds at best, Player 1 will be getting even worse odds, since he has to pay $10 more to call than Player 2.

If, on the other hand, you raise so that Player 1 will only be getting 2:1 pot odds, Player 2 will be getting much better odds. And since the principle of protection is based on giving all opponents poor pot odds (if possible), you raise by the amount that gives Player 2 2:1 pot odds (assuming Player 1 folds). A pot size raise in this example would therefore be:

3 * Player 2's raise: $45 ($3 * $15)
+ Pot size before Player 2's raise (including Player 1's bet): + $20
= $65

You raise to $65. The pot will then be at $100 ($65 +$15 + $15 + $5). Player 2 would have to pay $50 ($65 -$15) to call. Assuming Player 1 folds (he will only be getting 1.6:1 pot odds), Player 2 will be getting exactly 2:1.

Raising by pot size

Things are a big different at some rooms (such as Titan Poker), which have players raise by a given amount. Raises are then calculated as: Amount entered + amount needed to call a previous bet/raise.

If you wish to raise to $80 after having already invested $10 earlier in the betting round, you must enter $70, since you wish to raise by $70 (to a total of $80).

You can then calculate pot size raises as follows:

2 * size of opponent's bet/raise + size of the pot before your opponent's bet/raise was made.

EXAMPLE 4

You are heads up and in position on the flop. There are $20 in the pot. Your opponent then bets $8. A pot size raise is then calculated as follows:

2 * Opponent's bet/raise + Pot before opponent's bet/raise:
$16 (2*$8) + $20 = $36

You raise by $36. After your raise there will be $72 in the pot ($8 + $20 + $36 + $8). Your opponent will have to pay $36 to call and will be getting $72:$36, or 2:1 pot odds.

EXAMPLE 5

You are heads up on the flop and out of position. There are $20 in the pot. You bet $15 and your opponent raises by $30 (to $45). Calculating a pot size raise now requires two steps. First, calculate how large a pot size bet would have to be. Then subtract the amount you have already wagered.

1. Step 1: Calculate a pot size raise:

3 * size of opponent's bet/raise + size of pot before your opponent's bet/raise was made
$135 (3*$45) + $20 = $155

2. Step 2: Calculate the size of a raise by pot size:

- amount you have already wagered
- $15 = $140

You must therefore enter $140 to make a pot size raise. There will then be $220 ($45 + $20 + $140 + $15) in the pot and your opponent will have to pay $110 to call. Once again, he will be getting 2:1 pot odds.

EXAMPLE 6

We will conclude with an example of raising by pot size in a multiway pot (this is always done the same way, both before and after the flop).

You are in position and facing two opponents. There are $20 in the pot as the flop is revealed. Player 1 then bets $10. Player 2 raises by $20 (to $30).

Remember, your goal is to protect and give both opponents poor pot odds. You decide to raise so that Player 2 will only be getting 2:1 pot odds. This will give Player 1 even worse odds, since he has to pay $20 more to call than Player 2. If you were to raise to give Player 1 2:1 pot odds, Player 2 would be able to stay in the hand fairly cheaply.

The size of your raise is calculated as follows:

2 * Player 2's raise + Pot before Player 2's raise (including Player 1's bet)
$60 (2*$30) + $30 ($20+$10) = $90

You raise by $90. If Player 1 folds, Player 2 will have to pay $90 to stay in a $180 pot and only be getting 2:1 pot odds.

Conclusion

You should now know how to calculate a pot size raise. The key question is if your room has you raise 'to' or 'by' a given amount. Use the formula: (3*opponent's bet/raise + pot before opponent's bet/raise) to calculate a raise to pot size, and: 2 * opponent's bet raise + pot before opponent's bet/raise) to calculate a raise by pot size.

 

Comments (26)

#1 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 14:51

ok

#2 Nejc351, 05 Nov 10 12:59

nice to know 'to' or 'by' difference

#3 delanonunes, 18 Oct 11 14:24

good stuff : )

#4 genia2q, 10 Jul 13 18:02

I still haven't grasped the theory of the pot raise I am a bit confused I have only understood it about 50%. I need to work on this pot size, thank you.

#5 genia2q, 10 Jul 13 18:13

I am confused with this pot size mathematical its hard for me to grasp it I have only understood it about 50% but I know my weakness and I will keep on studying until I fully understand it, thank you.

#6 mamorys9, 16 Oct 13 15:28

good

#7 kanpoker, 01 Nov 13 04:51

very helpfull

#8 ucha1110, 01 May 14 19:53

like it :)

#9 biggood, 07 Sep 14 13:11

nice

#10 tashaleigh3, 09 Oct 14 10:03

awesome

#11 catblank, 14 Oct 14 09:02

ok

#12 Nosaj69, 02 Dec 14 11:02

Blown away by what should really be a fairly simple concept.......damn those pre-defined buttons on poker sites!

#13 toske1, 13 Mar 15 18:31

nice

#14 thewinemaker, 18 Mar 15 15:05

A lot of calculating in just a split second timing between players

#15 thewinemaker, 18 Mar 15 15:05

A lot of calculating in just a split second timing between players

#16 mirth, 27 Mar 15 20:50

i hated going to a different site after being used to raise "to" and learning it was raise "by". kept throwing me off.

#17 indigotiger, 11 Jun 15 18:14

Hmm... don't get it. Going to read it again

#18 FlyingDutchm1n, 08 Oct 15 23:16

Definitely good to know for PLO players

#19 hannahjean, 13 Oct 15 13:22

super helpful, thank you!

#20 bubamarasr, 20 Jan 16 22:53

Read it. Thank you.

#21 hassux, 25 Jan 16 21:28

badi nik kiss emou

#22 ptpokermyth, 26 Feb 16 16:34

this is very important

#23 CroZoZo, 26 Apr 16 13:21

ok

#24 HkFui, 16 Jun 16 11:15

The Math (for a raise to potsize)<br /> <br /> p - pot before opponents bet<br /> b - opponents bet<br /> r - our raise<br /> c - opponents call<br /> <br /> We want to give him 2:1 odds for his call so:<br /> <br /> p + b + r 2<br /> ----------- = --<br /> c 1<br /> <br /> Opponent has to call c = r - b since he already invested his bet b so:<br /> <br /> p + b + r 2<br /> ----------- = --<br /> r - b 1<br /> <br /> No isolate r by rearranging the formula:<br /> <br /> r = 3*b + p

#25 HkFui, 16 Jun 16 11:21

Or more readable: The Math (for a raise to potsize). p is the pot before opponents bet. b is opponents bet. r is our raise. c is opponents call. We want to give him 2:1 odds for his call so: (p + b + r):c = 2:1. Opponent has to call c = r - b since he already invested his bet b so: (p + b + r):(r - b) = 2:1. No isolate r by rearranging the formula: r = 3*b + p

#26 kerpen1980, 29 Jun 16 01:29

ok