What Preflop Sizing Should We Use?

I simply do not believe that every single preflop raise should be 2X.

Or 2.5X. Or 3X. Take your pick.

I talk to many pros these days who insist on one single raise size.

Do you have one single continuation bet size? One single turn bet size? Do you always bet the same amount on the river? This approach confuses me.

Let me give you some examples of times I adjust my raise sizing. See if you agree with me.

For one, when I have a “fish” in the big blind, I want to play with that guy. Many people use, “I was priced in because of my big blind” as an excuse to call with any two cards out of position. I want to push the limits when I see that player. If they’re going to flat 3.5X from the big blind with T-2s, when they have no postflop tricks to speak of, I don’t understand why I would consent to a smaller pot.

This guy is going to be out of the tournament soon. I want his chips. So, naturally, I hope he plays the biggest pots with me. Increasing my raise size when no one is going to do anything about it and when he’s likely to call out of the big blind is a great way to accomplish this.

That said, it must be noted that this larger raise size is only a good idea when the players between you and the big blind player are also recreational types, who might actually tighten up their ranges versus a larger raise.

There used to be a time most players played this poorly from the big blind. Also, a 3X or a 3.5X raise would cause otherwise good players to not threebet you. The raise size worried them. They thought that that raise size showed you were a withered old live pro, playing 88+ and AQo+. They didn’t want to threebet versus those ranges, so they kept flatting, thus giving away free flops.

Sadly, this trick doesn’t work as well as it once did. Many guys have learned to just go ahead and threebet those larger opens like they were any other raise.

In this lies a lesson. If someone is going threebet the same range regardless of what your raise size is, then you should open to 2X. This is especially true when the big blind player isn’t especially weak.

This situation comes up often with young pros. They have their static threebetting ranges and nothing is going to change them. Versus them, you should open 2X and give yourself the best implied odds for when you’re threebet.

Another good time to open 2X is when the players behind you have stacks of 11 to 15 big blinds. Those stacks are often shoved all-in or folded, and an increased raise size will not change the all-in ranges. Shortstacks will look at an ace and generally still like it.

I hope these ideas have opened your mind as far as preflop raising. Good luck to you in your next session.

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