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Psychological sizing

By: pocketts
Published: Jul 4th, 2012
Psychological pricing is a marketing term which looks at the psychological effect a product’s price has on the consumer. An example of this includes a product being sold at $19.99 rather than $20.00. The reasons for this are obvious.

Over the last week or two there has been debate within the crew (sparked by myself) regarding the psychological effects of bet sizing in MTTs, or any other form of poker for that matter. What does it mean when someone bets 9,999 on the river as opposed to 10,000? Why do people bet amounts such as 8,347 rather than a clean amount such as 8,300?

The debate has generated discussion as to what action opponents are seeking with different sizes. Then the question arose, can we level our opponents with our bet sizing? Will we be more likely to get called if we bet 9,999, 10,000 or 10,125? Can we set a pattern and then reverse it later in the tournament?
It seems absurd to think that manipulating your bet size has any bearing on whether an opponent folds or calls. However, human beings are stupid creatures I would not be surprised if this was ever proven to be true.

What about when playing live? What does it mean when a player begins to bet 1,000 but adds a 25 chip at the last minute? Maybe we can add to our chances of forcing a fold if our opponent is ever in a marginal spot.

So what can be said of all of this? Our discussions have been inconclusive as each member of the crew has their own theory. And this topic isn’t really worthy of lengthy discussion; it is just fun to discuss something different after studying a single hand for two hours.

What possible hand could we be spending two hours on? The best way to play AKo from the small blind when 50bbs deep, against a nit open from under the gun. Is it 3b/folding? 3b/5b jamming? Is it flatting from the small blind? At least we have a conclusive answer for this problem.

    Comments

    1. I like to add 99 on the end of my bets after it gets to about the 200-400 level. It makes it look bigger on the screen, because most sites have a nice, vertical stack when it is 499 or w/e 99. Also, a lot of players take offense to it and think you are bluffing. Another reason to not bet an even amount is the fact that you actually took the time to type in a number. It is easy to just click 1/3 pot, half pot, etc. Typing in a number makes people weary because you are actually thinking.
    2. I agree with Charles and have also used odd numbers at the end of my bets to make the bet look larger then it really is. Similarly when playing live, i believe the extra low denomination chips thrown on top more times then not are only there to make the bet look larger (whether it was a conscious desicion or not). When choosing an ammount to bet I ask myself what is the minimum I need to risk to induce a fold or alternatively, what is the maximum I can value bet and still receive a call. Those few extra chips may be the difference in getting your opponent to throw away their hand or increase the pot and thus bet sizes on later streets.
     
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