re: Poker & Feeler Bet
Originally Posted by Michael Paler
This is really one of those "looks good on paper" ideas past it's time. What on earth could this accomplish to help you in a hand? Lets say you put out a small "feeler" bet and get raised big - just what does that tell you? Nothing. He might have a big hand or maybe he just knows what you are doing - it looks really weak. If he knows, then he can easily bluff you off a hand, right? Ok, so you put out a feeler bet and get flat called - what does that tell you? Same thing-NADA!
Remember, you always want to bet for a reason..."finding out where I'm at" is not going to be accomplished by the so-called feeler bets. Betting to find out where you are at tells more about your hand! You are not sure, so a good player can exploit this.
Still, I see it alot. Guys put out a way too small bet, guy knows whats up, raises big, then (often) the guy trying to get a "feel" flats that, then checks. Then the other guy just fires off another big bet (with or without any actual hand!) and Mr. Feeler folds, often the best hand.
You would be much better off using pot control when unsure, but have a hand with showdown value. Putting out small bets likely to get called just really do not tell one anything. Think about this as well....when you have overcards or a draw, don't you just love guys min-betting into the pot? You are getting perfect pot odds to chase, even overcards, when they bet 100 into a 1k+ pot. How many of these people min bet to river, then fold to a huge raise or bet? So, they just wasted a lot of chips, didn't they? And that is what a feeler bet really is - a waste of chips.
The only time I do this is when doing the rope-a-dope. When I want to make the other guy think I'm weak when in fact I'm not at all. If I got a nut hand and I know my opp is looking for weakness, I'll gladly show it to him! If he trys to blow me off the pot, I got him!
I think you're making some really good points here. But, I guess I don't think of a feeler bet as always a min bet. I mean, sometimes it is, but sometimes it is more than the minimum. for instance betting 100 into a 1k pot is pretty pointless.
Example where I might feeler bet the minimum:
bubble of a SnG shallow stacks. Folds to me in the SB and I have T6o. I have 2,100 in chips BB has 1,600 in chips. Blinds are 100/200. I decide to limp because this player plays very straightforward post flop. BB checks option. Flop comes 67J with 2 spades. I bet out the minimum 400 into an 800 pot in an attempt to take control of the hand and deny a free card to draws and overcards. But, it's very hard to call a bet from a straightforward player OOP with bottom pair and shallow stacks. If this player calls my flop bet, I'll pot control the rest of the hand and fold to any pressure. If this player raises n the flop, I'll have an easy fold. Usually I'll just win with a min bet and minimal risk and I'll lose the minimum when my opponent has hit top pair.
Example where I might "feeler" bet more than the minimum:
Average stack is abut 2,500. 2 players limp for 100 each, I am in the small blind with A8s and have an average stack and I limp along getting 7:1 on my suited ace. Flop comes 48T rainbow with 1 of my suit. I'll often lead out about 200 into a pot of 400 here. I would have to call a bet that size anyways, and it is difficult to play middle pair out of position, but taking the lead in the hand helps when playing OOP. Also, it will fold out random overcard hands that have some equity to suck out such as Q9, KJ, JQ, A6. Multiway there are a lot of overcards that can hit on a flop like this making your hand null and void. Check calling is an acceptable line here as well, but sometimes I prefer to lead in these spots. Once you end up heads up you can pot control and get to show down as cheaply as possible, or inflate the pot as you see fit when you improve or read them as weak.
Basically, when you are the bettor you have so many more options for different ways to proceed with the hand, you can bluff, you can represent hands, you can bet on the come, you can bet when you get there, you can make blocking bets; you just have a lot more ways to win on a lot of different turn and river cards than you do when you check-call in the same situation.
So, while I'll agree with you that betting "to find out where you are at" is usually not a good enough reason, all by itself. But betting to take the lead in the hand, manipulate the pot size and give yourself a chance to take it down now or later combined
with "finding out where you are at" can add up to smart poker SOMETIMES....not all the time but I think feeler bets have their place when used sparingly and with discretion and a plan.
But whenever I see a multiway limped pot and then somebody min bets at it, I roll my eyes. totally pointless bet. I can scarcely think of any example where it is acceptable to bet less than 25-30% of the pot on the flop.