Value-Based Betting
Sunday, 24. January 2010

Deciding whether to bet or not is easy in cases when your hand is a clear-cut win or lose. However, what if you have cards that could swing both ways? Do you withdraw your bid for the pot or do you stay in the hand?

This is where “value-based” betting comes in. A hand that can swing both ways must be played correctly, if played at all. There are a number of aspects that a player must take into consideration at this critical juncture in the game. The following are just a couple of pointers with regards to value-based betting:

The Dilemma
In cases where your cards can either win or lose, you have a tough decision to make. To help you make a decision, you should weigh the odds of winning against the odds of losing. Thereafter, you will either bet or fold.

In such a situation, you use your judgment in making your decision. Your cards are not going to make the decision for you since they’re as of yet undefined. They can actually turn to a monster hand later on if you stick till the river, but then again, they may not. It’s absolutely your call whether you will wait and pay more chips to find out if you have a winning hand, or if you’re going to avoid potentially large losses by giving the hand up early on.

Value Betting
Value betting is following the wait-and-see strategy; that is, it is betting and continuing to play and play on the hopes that your cards will actually win. However, value betting should only be done when the chance of forming a winning hand exceeds that of ending up with a losing hand.

Thus, value betting requires the expertise to spot potential winners. Strong hands are easy to spot for they’re as glaringly apparent as the neon sign of a country roadside inn. However, cards that can win are harder to determine. Particularly, it requires a poker player to be a proficient odds scholar.

Furthermore, value betting takes a certain kind of courage. After all, the longer you remain in the game, the greater the amount of money you can potentially lose. Simply put, it is very risky to play a hand that you’re not even sure will win.

However, value betting distinguishes the skilled poker players from novices. Skilled players do not wait for the big pot. They use value betting to pick up small earnings and risk their chips for marginal wins. They do not wait for that big pot and they do not play only with sure hands.

Value Betting Application
You should learn to bet even with marginal hands, preferably after you have had some well-deserved wins. Your opponents are likely to be reluctant to play against a consistently good player.

Similarly, you should learn to distinguish when you are being had; that is, you must be able to determine who is betting on marginal hands so that you can call and beat them at their own game. Without this ability to tell who is value betting, you will lose all of your chips in no time.

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