Getting Bet Leveraging to Pay

Bet leveraging is one of the skills you can use during a no-limit or pot-limit multi table poker tournament, to build monster pots and elevate your finishing position. When you have really good hands in these events you want to maximise the pot as much as possible, and bet leveraging gives you this opportunity with less risk of getting busted or frightening away the opposition and collecting just blinds.

The theory behind bet leveraging is that you start you betting action pre-flop with just a small raise. Post-flop, you increase the size of your bet by a factor (depending on how many chips you have in your stack and how many you want to commit in total), and then increase your bet by those same factors after the turn and river. To make this clearer, here is an example:-

You are in the early stages of a multi table poker tournament and are dealt pocket kings. It is not the best possible hand, but still worthy of some major action. Blinds are 25/50 and you bet 100. A bet of 100 chips is not going to put off many people from calling you, so there are three or four who call. The flop comes down and there are no aces showing (the odds of an ace showing on any flop when you do not hold one are around one in four). You increase you bet threefold to 300 chips, and the other players follow suit.

At this stage, the odds of seeing an ace on the turn or river are 6/1, and you have to assume that if other players are going with you, there are at least one or two aces hidden on the table – increasing the odds in your favour even more. Things you need to be wary of are players with weaker pocket pairs, those looking to draw a straight or flush and those who have already caught one pair on the flop and are hoping to catch another card on the turn or river to get trips or two pairs.

By increasing your bet to 900 chips after the turn, many people will fold. A hand that was worth 100 chips at the beginning of the betting is all of a sudden costing them 100 + 300 + 900 if they want to call you. After the river, you raise threefold once more – a bet of 2700 chips to make a total of 4000 you have put in the pot. Regardless of what you actually hold, any opponent is going to hesitate calling your bet unless he holds the nut hand.

Once in a while this strategy is going to backfire on you and cost you 4000 chips, but over a period of time the number of 100, 300 and 900 chip bets you get called on – and never go to showdown – is going to pay dividends. Once you get a reputation for playing this strategy, players will think twice about calling your bets after the flop because they can work out how much it is going to cost them to see you.

Reducing the size of your betting initially reduces your exposure to getting busted by a player who catches on the flop. If you have only put 400 chips into the pot (100 + 300) and another player has caught aces, it is more than likely that he is going to want to raise your bet, and you know to pull out – thus saving chips when you are not making them.

Bet leveraging is a strategy which you may have to use many times before other players will acknowledge what you are doing. Because there are only certain conditions in which it is effective, it is not a ploy you will be using that commonly. However, over a period of time, successful bet leveraging will give you an edge in both cash games and multi table poker tournaments.