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Preflop betting in a No-Limit Hold'em Strategy

Preflop betting is one of the most important elements in No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments. It is extremely important to know how much to bet or raise if you decide to come in.

Many good players have a strategy of raising the same amount when they raise first in. This amount is often three times the big blind. This strategy has some obvious advantages, since it doesn’t give information on the strength of your hand when you raise. If you're the first player that enters the pot in a No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament, don't call! If you’re not sure you can raise – muck your cards!
This is an important strategy since in the initial rounds of a tournament, many good players often limp in preflop. They will limp in from any position (early, middle, and late) with strong and weak hands. What they want is to see the flop cheap, when the blinds are small.

They can develop strong hands or draws even if they started weak. In addition, it's hard to know what hand a limper developed on the flop, especially considering that he could have done so from various positions.

Make your opponents decisions as difficult as possible:
When the other players fold and the big blind is the only player left, you’ll want to make his decision as difficult as possible when he needs to decide to call you or fold.

Small raise in early position:
Raising in early position indicates a very strong hand. The real reason why you should make a small raise is that there are so too many players acting after you, and any one of them might re-raise you with a very strong hand.
If you're representing a big hand by raising from early position, it is likely that you'll only get played with by very strong hands. Why risk 4, 5 or more bets to win only 1.5 bets in the blinds when you're often going to be running into monsters along the way? If you're holding A-Q rather than A-A and a player comes over the top, you can lay it down without having risked much.

Bigger raise in late position:
When raising in late position and representing a hand that can beat the 2 or 3 remaining hands, your raise must be bigger otherwise the big blind will call you easily.

When you're in middle position:
Raise to about 2.5 big blinds, and raise to about 3 times the big blind from late position. The mistake people often do in No Limit Hold’em is coming in for a raise that's too big.

These numbers need to be modified if there are antes. You should generally add about half the total antes to any raise. Your early position raise should be 2 big blinds plus half the total antes, and 3 big blinds plus half the antes for your late-position raises.

Typical raise isn't good if you're short-stacked. It is better to move 'all-in' instead. Moving 'all-in' makes a tough decision to your opponents and eliminates one of your tough calling decisions. You also make a “Don’t mess with my short-stack!” statement when you do this and more often than not you’ll collect the blinds.