Overbetting is a move that is now practiced by every competent player. It’s a great way to maximise win rate and also strikes terror into weak opponents. Casual players who have been the game for a long time will remember the like of Tom Dwan and Dan “Jungleman” Cates terrorising their opponents back in the day with this powerful move.
Definitely not a new strategy, but absolutely one that has grown in popularity massively as players seek to mimic the plans that a GTO solver prefers. It is a perfect way to confuse less experienced players too. Many will have no better idea than to assume you either have the nuts or are bluffing every time, and then they are forced to guess.
What’s Overbetting All About?In the most modern sense, overbetting is about applying the maximum pressure when you have a nut advantage on the turn and river.
“A nut advantage simply means that you have more combos of hands that make the strongest hands possible given the board.”
This allows you to extract extra value with strong hands as well as allowing you to bluff with a larger number of combos in your range. Win-win.
Your opponents will on average also fold much more than when facing a smaller bet, as well as being reluctant to bluff raise you.
You can also overbet when your opponent is capped, holding very few combos that make high-equity hands, and when the turn or river card changes nothing. This is because to maximise value, your opponent will raise those hands with a high frequency, and when they don’t you can count on them showing up with stronger hands much less often.
Overbet SizingJust like with normal bet sizing, overbet sizing can vary too. It can be as little as 125% of the pot or even as much as 400%. But that said, 150% is probably the most common overbet size seen.
If you want to flex your overbet sizes (almost certainly a good idea) then one way to decide is to figure out just how much of a nut advantage you have. This isn’t easy at first but with some hours of practice it will become much easier.
Table Image FactorsIt’s always important to consider your table image when playing poker but more so when you start to implement overbets into your strategy. Overbets function well as a part of a balanced strategy by skilled players but recreational players must be careful in certain ways depending on their style.
For example, if you prefer an ultra aggressive style that isn’t particularly balanced, then you’re going to find that your overbet bluffs get called too frequently to be profitable. In fact, because of the large bet size, ovebetting in this scenario will end up being a very expensive mistake.
The opposite is also true. A player who is excessively tight will never get paid off, even by players who aren’t paying much attention. Anyone can spot a nit at the table.
ExploitationIt’s all very well saying how overbetting functions well as a part of a balanced or GTO type strategy, but exploitation is where the real money is made in poker.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this is to keep a close eye on what the recent game flow has been like. If you have made several bluffs in recent hands and got away with it, then a risky overbet against a player who possibly folds less than optimally probably isn’t worth the trouble.
Likewise, if you recently stacked a player prone to tilt, then overbet bluffing wouldn’t be prudent. But don’t forget, this idea also works the other way around. If a player is on tilt after being stacked by you, then you might consider switching a normal size value bet into an overbet to increase profit.
Inelastic Calling RangesEven the most casual player who has done at least a little bit of studying will understand that when facing bigger bets they need to fold more often. The problem is that most of the time they don’t adjust enough. This obviously causes problems when hoping that you will get enough folds when bluffing.
It is crucial that you keep a mental note on which players have elastic calling ranges and those who don’t.
SummaryOvetbetting is a tool that will increase your win rate by giving you another option to exploit your opponents with. That said, it is important that the concept is properly understood to avoid expensive mistakes.
It can take a while before you have enough confidence to use overbetting as often as it should be used. This is because inexperienced players have a tendency to only remember when the move goes wrong and assume they made a mistake.
Overbetting won’t work perfectly every time but this doesn’t matter. Investigate the maths yourself and check over any hands containing an overbet with more experienced players to deepen your understanding.
Once you fully understand how this move works and are confident to use it you won’t regret having spent the time learning about overbetting.