Betting for value in poker is a crucial and often overlooked tactic. The reason it is overlooked is because it is a very hard concept to grasp from time to time, especially for new poker players. With a value bet, you are trying to put your opponent on the edge of disaster. A value bet can be defined as the bet at which the calling player is put on the cusp of making a right or wrong decision. In these situations, you want your opponent to call, because it is your belief that you hold the best hand, regardless of how mediocre it seems.
What Is A Value Bet?
Okay, okay, a value bet is anytime you are not sure that you have the best hand, but you think that based on current players in the hand, or other factors, that your hand might as well be the best or at least has a good chance of winning the pot. You then place a bet that you hope is called. A value bet is usually made on the river or the last round of betting in whatever poker game you happen to be playing. See, there is nothing for sure in a value bet. What you are trying to do is increase your chances of winning a big pot. Several factors however need to go into your decision on whether or not to make a value bet.
The most important decision you will make with a value bet is based on the knowledge you have of your opponents. If you aren’t keenly aware of what your opponents have a tendency to hold, then value betting is pretty much worthless. The whole point after all is to try an extract extra money in a situation that is questionable.
Making Value Bets
Although value betting is a very ambiguous topic, there are a few things you can do or look for to help make this tactic more viable to your game. Consider the points below as your value betting checklist:
Study your opponents well as the best value bets come from situations in which you know your opponents probably don’t hold anything better than what you have or you think their hand is very close in rank to yours.
Value betting is the best tool to use in passive games where people constantly check down their hands on the river. Rather than checking or calling, bet or raise to extract more profit from these weak, passive players.
When a scary board such as 6587K surfaces, replay the hand in your head and decide if you can really put anyone on an easy straight. A lot of the time you’ll find out that by checking down on the river that you’re missing out on bets. If you hold a strong pair or two pair in a situation like this, make a value bet and punish weak players for hanging around.
If your opponent is capable of check raising or using other deceptive moves, then a value bet may not be the best move, checking would be a better idea.
The bottom line in value betting is that you need to be relatively sure that your opponent is going to call with a holding that is less than yours. You don’ t have to be positive that you have the best hand, but you want to be pretty sure that your opponent has no problem calling with sub par and second best hands.
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