Value betting can often be the difference between someone who is a break even or a marginal winner in their respected games to someone who is a big winner.
Throughout this article we will be looking at common mistakes people make, maximising your value, value betting the river, some examples, before finalising with some key points.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to value betting is that they plain and simply just don't do it. Too often players fail to bet with their big hands in an attempt to build the pot with the fear that if they do they will scare their opponents off.
Whilst it's somewhat true that betting could scare your opponent off, the pro's far outweight the con's when it comes to betting a big hand compared to that of not betting in the hope your opponent will.
It's important to give yourself every opportunity to play a big pot with a big hand rather than being satisfied with getting the minimum. This can have a dramatic effect on your overall win rate.
Common Mistakes- Hand Example
We decide to call an early position raise with a low pocket pair. The flop makes us a set and as standard our opponent decides to cBet their hand. Now at this point there are two options, both with plausible reasoning behind the play at this point in the hand.
One, we can elect to call slow playing our hand and two; we can decide to raise the cBet in an attempt to get maximum value from our hand. The best play would be to raise here, maximising our value without worrying that our opponent may fold their hand.
Let's say we decide to just call at this point, which is OK and the turn brings a blank of which our opponent decides to check to us. Again we have two options, to bet or to check once again, slow playing our hand.
At this point there is only one way to play to gain maximum value from our hand and that would be to bet. This is in an attempt to build the pot in the hope that our opponent may call with worse. A check here would be the worst option as it not only limits the amount of money in the pot, but also gives our opponent a free river card which could complete a host of hands that may counterfeit ours.
Maximising Your Value
It's important to try and build the pot with your big hands in an attempt to win as much as possible.
A good rule to note is, 'Big hand, big pot!'
Don't be afraid to raise your big hands with the worry that your opponent might fold. If they do fold then it's likely they didn't have much of a hand anyway meaning you'd got little or no extra money out of them. By raising we've given ourselves every opportunity to get the maximum value from our hand. And this will improve your image as an aggressive player.
Value Betting the River
One of the best skills a top online player will have is that of value betting the river in marginal situations. Often by the river players make the mistake of thinking it's easier to check and get to showdown to see what their opponent has rather than betting for value and charging your opponent for the privilege to see your hand.
Your bet sizing is also a massive skill to perfect on the river as it's often the difference between your opponent calling or folding a river bet.
A good way to think about it is how much you think your opponent wants to get to showdown with their hand. If you think they have a marginal hand, maybe like second or third pair, and think they will call a small bet on the river then make small bet rather than thinking that they won't call anything due to the strength (or lack of it) of their hand. If they fold in this situation then you have lost nothing as you take down the pot regardless. If they call then you have executed a good river value bet.
Conversely, if you think they may have a strong hand such as top pair or two pair type hands, and they are likely to call off a larger bet, then bet larger. A lot of players will often call off larger bets on the river due to the fact they think you've bet big to get them to fold out their hands. Little do they know that you are value betting them with strong made hands.
- Take aggressive lines rather than passive lines with your big hands
- Look to raise to gain maximum value
- Don't be afraid that you may get your opponent to fold when you have a big hand
- Big hands, big pots!
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