Jan 27 2010

Small Bets and Strength

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Your standard poker player will correlate bet sizes with a player’s relative hand strength. In some games and at certain limits this will be acceptable, but there are many situations where a small bet could be the biggest indicator of strength. The term value bet was derived from a bet that was only made to cater to the opposition. What is the use in betting $72 if your opponent is only going to call off $60?

Value bets work both ways, however, and you need to make sure that you aren’t the victim. When you have a strong hand you will want to extract each and every penny possible from the other players, but you want to lose the least whenever you might be beat. It is much harder to determine when someone else is value betting than it is to make a solid value bet of your own. You will have all areas of the value bet covered once you are able to not only identify spots where you should be value betting, but also the times where you are being value bet. A penny saved is a penny earned, and this is never truer than when dumping a hand when you are being value bet.

Prior Bets

The easiest way to analyze someone’s strength is to consider how they had been acting in the hand up until the spot you are currently in. Think about not only what the board is, but how they have been reacting as circumstances continued to change. Poker is a game that runs amuck with adjustments, and it is of the utmost importance that you change as the hand does.

Your hand’s strength pre flop means absolutely nothing once it becomes obvious that your opponent has you crushed. Some players just hate to let go of their great starting hands, but abandoning the option to fold will cost you a ton of money. A lot of players say that folding a strong pair when someone else has a set is virtually impossible to do. Take this scenario as an example. A middle position limps in and you raise. They call and you hit top pair on the flop. If both of you check the flop you will be looking to make some money on the turn and river. When the river is a blank and they lead bet it will probably confuse you. The initial reaction should be something along the lines of “What would they be betting here with?” There is a good reason why you would react this way, and the reason is because you can definitely be beat. When the middle position player bets the same amount on the river you should be heading for the hills. The fact is that your hand was good, but the two bets from the middle position player have decreased your hand’s value dramatically. It doesn’t matter what your hand’s value once was if it now is useless. It’s not going to be easy to fold to obvious value bets, in fact it will be tempting to call, but if you want to save some money you will learn to throw them away.

Comments Off - Click Here to Speak Up