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OTB #009: 3 Simple Rules to Choose the Right Preflop Raise Size

Updated: Jan 24


You’ve probably seen all manner of raise sizes when you play from minraises to crazy 8bb opens.


Today I’m going to share with you 3 simple rules for choosing the correct raise size for the most common preflop spots in MTTs.


Let’s dive in…


Rule #1: Scale your raise sizes based on the stack size


In tournaments, stacks can and will get shorter. As the stacks get shallower you can scale all of your raise sizes. This means your raise first in size can be smaller, your 3-bet size can be smaller and your 4-bet size can be smaller.


When you’re deepstacked, the bigger you raise preflop, the bigger the pot will be on the flop. This means you can bet bigger on the flop, which in turn makes the pot bigger for the turn and so on.


By the time you reach the river the pot size will be a lot bigger if you raised to 2.5x pre rather than 2x and you’ll be able to bet bigger and make more EV.


It gets more difficult to get all-in by the river if you minraise pre off 100bb.


Raise first in


When raising first in I recommend raising to 2.5x at 80bb+, 2.3x at 40bb-60bb and minraising (2x) at 30bb and under.


Below are my recommendations alongside the sizes used in GTO Wizard:



SB first in


From the small blind, you’ll want to scale your preflop raise sizes too. I adjust my sizing at 25bb and under, and then keep it at 3.5x from 30bb+. GTO Wizard does something a little different:



BB vs SB limp


When the SB limps, you can scale you raise sizes from the BB as well. I like to adjust at 20bb and start to raise smaller, and then stick to 3.5x at 25bb+. GTO Wizard has two raise sizes facing a SB limp, but I think that becomes hard to implement.


Notice how it also has bigger raise sizes, though, the bigger the stack size.



Rule #2: 3-bet larger preflop from OOP


You’ll want to size up your 3-bets when you’re OOP to somewhat negate your positional disadvantage. This means when you’re in the SB or the BB facing a raise from EP round to the BTN you should 3-bet bigger. And when you limp/3-bet from the SB against a BB raise, you’ll also want to go bigger.


It's much easier for your opponent to realise their equity in position so if you make it 3 times their raise size from the SB or BB, they'll have a much easier time calling and playing postflop.


Here are my recommendations for 3-bet sizes IP and OOP, from both the SB and the BB, alongside GTO Wizard and DTO Preflop:


IP 3-bet sizing


Quick note: at the shallower stack sizes, an all-in 3-bet is possible too.


OOP 3-bet sizing from SB



OOP 3-bet sizing from BB



Once again you'll notice how the raise sizes are scaling based on the stack size.


When shallow 3-bet smaller, when deeper 3-bet bigger.


Rule #3: Add 1x per limper or caller


Facing limps


I recommend raising to your standard raise size (see raise first in chart above) and add on 1bb per limper.


If you’re playing 40bb deep and there’s 1 limper, raise to 2.3bb + 1bb = 3.3bb.


What you’re trying to do here is make it more expensive for the players behind to call, especially the BB. You want to get heads up against what is probably a weak opponent.


If you just minraise, the BB can still call 1bb to play a multiway pot against you and the limper(s).


By raising to 3.3bb it costs the BB 2.3bb to call, which forces them to realise an extra 1.3bb postflop, which is quite challenging multiway if the limper calls as well.


If you’re playing 80bb deep and there are 3 limpers you’d raise to 2.5bb + 3bb = 5.5bb.


Quick note: This is the minimum I would raise in these situations. If you’re finding that the limpers are always calling when you make it this size, go bigger.


Squeezing


Similarly, when someone raises, someone else calls and you have the chance to squeeze, you should use your standard 3-bet size + 1x per caller.


At 60bb you’d want to 3-bet to 3x the raise in position so let’s say the opener makes it 2.3bb and you would normally 3-bet to 6.9bb, which is 2.3bb * 3. If there’s one caller in the middle you should go to 4x the raise because it’s 3x + 1x.


Your squeeze size is then 2.3bb * 4x = 9.2bb.


At 100bb with a raise and 3 calls, you’d want to go 3.5x + 3x = 6.5x the raise size from in position, 4.2x + 3x = 7.2x from the SB and 4.5x + 3x = 7.5x from the BB.


So if the original raiser makes it 2.5x, you’d go 16.25bb from IP, 18bb from the SB and 18.75bb from the BB.


Summary


Here are the 3 rules to help choose the correct raise size for the most common preflop situations in MTTs:


  • Rule #1: Scale your raise sizes based on the stack size

  • Rule #2: 3-bet larger preflop from OOP

  • Rule #3: Add 1x per limper or caller

Raising first in and facing an open are the two most common preflop spots, so it's important to have a solid framework for these spots.


Good luck!

 

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