I am sure anybody that is serious about poker or has been playing for a while, has heard the term “Value-Bet”. For those of you who have not, here’s a quick definition.
Value-Bet: A bet made intended to extract value from a second best hand.
Why should we value bet?
We all like money, don’t we? A lot of these people at the low-limits call way too much and overvalue their hands. We need to exploit this and take advantage of them.
First when we value bet, we have to be sure we have the best hand and will be called by worse. We will also need a little bit of hand reading skills and be able to put villain on a range of hands.
Example of value betting:
You’re dealt XX on the button you raise and get called by the BB. The Flop comes: XXX. Here we can value bet because we most likely have the best hand and will get called by worse.
Hands we are beating and could get called by: 33-QQ, K3+, JT-QT-AT, all straight draws, all flush draws and some air sometimes. That’s a lot of hands we are beating and which will call our value bet on the flop.
We are only losing to a few selective hands: KT-K2-AA-AK-T2 and sets. We can really almost rule out AK-AA-KK as these hands should have re-raised pre-flop and K2-T2 shouldn’t even have called your raise. So we are really only afraid of KT-TT-22. That is not many hands at all.
So we can profitably value bet here and get called by worse hands. This is one of the most important concepts to beating low-limit Holdem. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not value betting and getting all fancy and tricky. And that’s why they are still playing low-limit uNL. I was one of those people. I remember learning about more advanced plays before I really learned about how to value bet right. Its one of the most important concepts you need to learn to win at low-limit poker.
I see a lot of people thinking there value betting, but are actually bluffing. Most people think value betting is continuous betting when they get a piece of the board. Well its not, that’s more a bluff or just plain spewing your money off to the loose/passive-calling stations. Remember a bluff is getting a better hand than yours to fold and calling stations don’t like to fold. A value-bet is getting a worse hand to call you. A bluff and value bet is almost opposite of each other and if you don’t understand this your going to be playing low limits forever.
How big should we be value betting?
Well that’s up to you. We want to bet enough to get maximum value, but we don’t want to bet big enough to make the villain fold. Optimum value bet sizing is usually ½ to ¾ pot. It can be opponent dependent sometimes as some opponents will call a big bet and some will only call small bets.
There is many ways to extract value from our opponents. Value betting is one of them and a very important one to beating small stakes uNL. Remember a value bet is meant to get called by second best hands. We are not value betting when we are getting called by better hands. That my friend is a bluff.
So every time before you make a decision, put your opponent on a range of hands and ask yourself this question: Am I betting for value here or am I bluffing?