Value betting is an important aspect to the game of poker and it can be the difference of winning a hand or losing a hand. Value betting allows you to gauge the strength of your opponents hand. You see this happen all the time in televised events where one play may be holding high cards and has not paired the board but will make a value bet to test his opponents hand based on his belief that he holds the better hand at that point in the hand. This is good strategy to employ as it may be the difference of your opponent getting to see a free card and suddenly be ahead in the hand in question. If there hand is weak they often will fold with the knowledge or belief that you are holding superior hole cards than they are.
Value Betting explained
When you value bet it means that you are trying to see what is the most your opponent will bet into a hand when they know they are behind and chasing with the hopes of hitting. Maybe they are chasing a straight or a flush for example. Ideally you do not want them call but at the same time you do want to get the most you can out of the hand. If you place a bet that is too high your opponent will likely fold but bet just enough and they often will pay to see the next card. This increases your potential for a large pot.
The reality of value betting comes down to your ability to read other players hands. New players usually will not value bet as they lack the required skills to be successful at it but experienced players have more knowledge and understand the finer signs of reading other players actions. They are able to properly assess the situation they have been presented with and act accordingly. The river card is a classic example of a value bet as beginners tend to not want to bet the river card as they are often scared and lack the confidence in the decisions they have made unless they have a hand that is near unbeatable.
When players bet out aggressively on the river it means they either have the nuts and are trying to get you to think otherwise or they have nothing and are desperate to get you off the hand due to poor management of the wagers they have made into the hand up to that point. This is usually assign they are bluffing and a good strategy to use leaving few options for opponents who are unsure of the hand they are up against. Value betting often comes down to the mental aspect of the game that see’s the weak players folding and the stronger players bankrolls increasing based on their ability to out read those they face.
Only those who have courage will bet aggressively on the river. It is the true sign of a professional poker player and defines they level of play they are accustomed to playing. Practise your value betting skills and develop them – study strategy and learn how to read player actions and you too will begin to see the value behind value betting.