• Getting the Most Value From Your Poker Hands

    Added - April 21, 2014 Poker

    In online poker culture, there is a lot of emphasis on aggression and being the betting lead. As a result, players are typically put into a position of thinking about bluffing and value betting first and everything else a distant second. When it comes to getting the most value from your hands as possible, being aggressive doesn't always cut it. There is a time and a place for betting your hands for value, and passive players would do well to overshoot what they think is necessary in this particular arena, but a lot of players could also be served well with cutting back a bit on the aggressive play.

    Let's take a common example to begin. Suppose you have a good-but-not-amazing hand against a player with a weak range. If you bet for value, then you're usually just going to get folds. If you get raised, you'll be put into a difficult position because it seems plausible enough that they have a weak hand just because of the sheer number of weak hands in their range compared to strong ones, but you don't really know. Most of the time, you aren't going to get paid for your hand in any way, shape or form, and often you're going to be put to difficult decisions where you'll be prone to making mistakes.

    If you think through what your play will mean, then you can come to this conclusion on your own pretty easily. However, most people would just value bet as the automatic play. In this situation, you should also consider checking. This has the benefit of avoiding difficult situations, plus it gives the opponent a chance to bluff at you. If their range is weak, you'll often get more value on your bet this way than by betting your hand yourself.

    There's an added bonus to checking here. People are so used to automatically betting all of their good hands that their checking range has became pretty weak overall. By checking, you actually get to protect all of those medium- and low-strength hands that would be weak and defenseless under normal circumstances. If your opponent sees you check/call a few times instead of check/folding all of the time, then they will think twice about bluffing you in that type of situation and in any other type of situation where you check to them.