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Decisions Based on Pot Size

Don’t you hate it when you’re playing against someone and you want to fold your semi-decent to worthless hand but you can’t because your opponent makes it too cheap for you to give up hope? Chances are, you should probably be folding at this point anyways, but instead of being the guy that gets suckered into giving a little bit of extra cash away every hand you should be the one doing it.

Poker is not only about winning hands but maximizing your profits as well. Value bets keep people around and it gets them to cough up the cash. You should always try to give the extra bet to squeeze out as many chips as possible from your opponent. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say you have King/7 and the flop comes King / 7 / 2 in no particular order and there is no flush draw on the board. You’re the button and your opponent checks to you. Are you going to check? – Heck no! First of all you really shouldn’t ever slow play 2 pair because it always comes back to haunt you. Make a small value bet, maybe he is holding a decent hand and thinks you are just trying to buy the pot.

A hand that you would love your opponent to have right now is Jack/8 or Jack/9 suited, because then you know his undisciplined mind will not allow him to fold his hand. The turn comes Jack and look at that, your opponent thinks he just caught top pair. He checks to you, since after all you did make the initial bet, perhaps he wants to see if that Jack scared you. This is a very important value bet here. A bet to high and he might be 100% confident that you do have that King. You to make it a little smaller, maybe he will still think you have the King but it will be cheap enough for him to call you so he does.

The Flop is a dud – 3 off suit – and he once again checks to you. Throw in one more small value bet. If he doesn’t call, which if you make it cheap enough for him he should, then you have already taken two value bets from him, but if he does call, the relatively small pot that started all of the sudden looks like a large one in the blink of an eye. You are killing him softly and slowly and plays like that can really dismantle players and throw them off their game.
The trick to Value betting is showing as much weakness as humanly possible all while knowing you have the better hand. You’re forcing people to do what they don’t want do, and when you do that, you take people out of their game, which is why you as a value better should always be on the constant look out for people trying give you a couple value bets. Value bets are also a good way to get a good idea of what hand your opponent has. Sometimes they serve a good purpose as “feeler bets” especially on the flop. Don’t over value bet however, because you could quickly be facing a re-raise and that will definitely put you in a tough position that you did not plan on. Remember, poker is about maximizing your profits and that is what you are establishing with value bets.

This puts your odds of catching the winning hand somewhere slightly better than 4-1. Your pot odds tell you that you should not make this call but what do your implied odds. If your opponent has two pair or the straight and you catch a runner runner flush or straight then chances are he isn’t thinking that’s what you caught, he’s probably putting you on AA or KK at this point, and he will definitely call an all in bet. If you re-raise he may fold, or hey may go over the top again so you should probably call at this point since you are pot committed.

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