NLH preflop betting: how much to bet?

Texas Hold'em in its No Limit mode is one of the most played types of poker worldwide. Most of the players who end up finding in online poker a favorable environment for the development of their skills ends up trying No Limit Hold'em games, a type of game in which the rules of any Texas Hold'em game remain intact, only that here the player has total freedom to place bets of the size he/she considers at any time.

As we will see below, it is not only a matter of quantity, but also of knowing how to choose the right moment. Learning when it is better to bet in poker will also allow us to know when it is better not to do so, which can come in handy when playing from certain positions.

Raise preflop, call and re-raise in No Limit Hold'em

The preflop is a crucial part of the game. Much of the data that will be useful to you in shaping your strategy and basing your decision making is revealed here, so getting your moves right is important.

The preflop bets can be a good way to start the game and put it in our favor if we know what to do at all times and read the game well. It is important to avoid, whenever possible, making bets without having a clear rationale for them. Betting in poker never gives good results, and No Limit Hold'em games are no exception.

Raise preflop

When we are clear that we want to play the hand, raising is our best option. The first step has to be decisive, frightening and forceful. Raising also sets us a clear objective: we want to win money, and we are so sure of it that we want to do it now. This position is intimidating and can be useful, even if you don't feel that way.

Raising preflop has several advantages: 

  • Isolation. It allows us to isolate the players, so that it is easier for us to read the opponents. An isolated opponent is easier to catch than two who interleave their game.
  • We call the shots. Having initiative is vital in preflop. For this reason, giving the impression that we have the attitude of a check to the raiser will benefit us when it comes to giving an image that is favorable to us.
  • We define the game. Not only do we make them read us the way we want, but we have the position and strength to make the game go the way we want it to go. In addition, it will allow us to profile the game of our opponents, taking into account the position of each one and their decisions, which can give us an outline of what kind of hand they are playing with.
  • We make our hand opaquer. Going straight ahead with forcefulness has another advantage: we make our hand more difficult to read. This is because our strength is clear, but no one can tell how good our hand really is, even though we are so clear in our actions. This can confuse them, causing them to miss everything we want.
  • We give ourselves the possibility of winning without playing. They say that good players are those who win by playing their cards well, but those who win without playing are even better. A master of No Limit Hold'em is able to play a hand and win it without resorting to the strength of his cards, something that is turned upside down with a preflop raise.


Although many shy away from it, limping is sometimes unavoidable. We understand by limping to see a bet without raising, and it is a legal option that can be interesting if we suspect that a player who speaks later is going to raise.

It can also be feasible to fold if the blinds are bad postflop players. If, for example, they have a tendency to overvalue their cards, they will be giving us great odds that we cannot refuse.

In the event that we have a speculative play or a medium pair, and the pot has become multiplayer, we can (and should) limp to maintain our cover.


A re-raise, or 3-bet, is to raise three times the bet of the original raiser. It is something that is done when we play with premium hands. Being a strong and revealing move, it is reserved for moments when our hand gives us the strength, we need to raise the betting limits and provoke the withdrawal of those who are playing with medium or strong hands, but not premium hands.

It may happen that the original raiser makes a smaller bet than the standard bet. In such cases, the objective is to raise the bet as much as possible without overbetting. An overbet is a bet that is too big compared to the size of the pot at the time, which can put us in a difficult situation because of:

  • Not being able to extract full value from good cards.
  • Being exposed and having someone see our play, neutralizing our advantage.

Therefore, it is important for our interests that the table does not perceive the bet as an overbet. Ambitious, yes, but far from the exaggerated limit.

About preflop wars

Even if your game is good, and you know how to bet in poker, there are times when it is the kind of play of others that determines the game. In the preflop of an NLH game you have to be especially afraid of maniacs, players who, although it may not seem so, do not play crazy. Not entirely, at least.

A maniac's type of play is based on raising and re-raising non-stop, which stresses the game. That will cause players like you, with a clear strategy and looking at the long term, to get involved in a war that you have neither seen nor care about.

Maniacs are players who, despite their style of play, know what they are doing. If they play like that, it's because they have at least a K or an A in their hand. Does that in itself make them play like that? Well, yes, and their reasoning has its part of logic: if the others have no game, automatically and by right they have it. That's why, right away, they raise and give themselves to re-raise in an exaggerated way until they force our fold.

What can you do in these cases? Limit losses, do not get into hands with a maniac and, if you are dragged into a battle that does not concern you, try not to follow him.

That doesn't mean that we can't stand up to them if we want to. A maniac is a player of extremes, very given to all-in. What if we respond with the same card? The only way to beat a maniac is to make him all-in, force him to bet everything and end up beating his hand. To do this, keep in mind that:

  • Our play must be tighter than that of the maniac.
  • We have to make sure that our play supports a raise.
  • Isolating them is the right thing to do: their hands tend to be more fragile than they appear.

How much to bet from the blinds

Betting in Texas Hold'em must be handled with care. Playing from the blinds preflop is the worst thing that can happen to us, because we are doomed to lose money, but do not despair: there are ways to cushion the blows and minimize losses.

Getting involved in a useless hand is very easy playing from the blinds. That makes passive play vital, since we will have to foresee the volume of losses if we play in position.

Playing without position what we are interested in is to go for the pot as soon as possible. Although it is true that playing strong from the blinds seems risky, and that poker bets from the BB in NL Texas Hold'em will cost us money, it is the only opportunity that this position gives us to try to reduce losses and opt for a bigger pot. Of course, it is essential to avoid playing marginal hands in order not to get into futile games that make us get burned unnecessarily.

Therefore, the game from the blinds is always defensive. Going for the pot if the opportunity arises is something we always have to contemplate, but we must assume that the game from here changes the perspective, since these positions will cost us a lot of money if we do not apply the change of approach.

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