String Bet in Poker – How to Avoid it

String Bet

String Bet

You’ve studied your opponent and calculated the bet you want to make in your head. You reach for your chips and put in a decent bet and hear the 2 most annoying words you can hear in a live poker game. “String bet” and the dealer makes you put the extra chips back making your bet look pitiful. Your opponent calls the meagre bet and you win a tiny pot instead of a potentially large one. A string bet is not just frustrating if you win or perhaps lose the pot, but also from a consequence perspective. Placing a string bet can affect you the hands after. This article will look at the meaning of a string bet and ways to avoid it happening to you in the future.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a string bet?

A string bet is an illegal bet made at a live poker table. It is where the player has bet chips multiple times with the intention of making a single bet.

Main Types

Dropping ChipsThis is where a player will reach a stack of chips and drop them individually over the betting line. In this situation, the first chip that landed is the bet. Whilst you may think you’re cool dropping the chips in a dramatic fashion like in the movies, it’s illegal to do so in practically every casino.
Reaching BackThis is the most common way. It’s where you push your bet forward, over the invisible betting line. You then reach back for more chips to do this again.

Check out the video below for illustration

Why is a String Bet Illegal?

String betting is illegal because, theoretically, you could be feeding off your opponents’ reactions. By betting and then going to get more chips, it’s as if you are altering your bet and may use the reaction for information. Despite people wanting to devalue the importance of reading your opponent, it’s a part of the game you can’t ignore. By watching your opponent as you make a bet, you can elicit information from them. That being said, the truth is, most string bets are performed by new players unfamiliar with the rules of poker. There are experienced players though who may do this illegal bet on purpose. This is very unethical and something I advise against.

How to Avoid String Betting

The simplest and easiest way to avoid string betting is by announcing your bet verbally. By doing this, it’s irrelevant how you pick up your chips. Verbal declaration is binding so as long you are clear with your annunciation and are saying it loud enough, you will be fine. It’s important you stay consistent though, strong or weak, announce your raises and bets so that you are not easily exploited.