Most Poker Players Make the Wrong Bet Here (Do You?)

Most Poker Players Make the Wrong Bet Here (Do You?)

Being able to choose to correct bet size in every situation in poker is one of the most important factors that distinguishes elite winners from break-even players (and from everybody else).

The best of the best always make the optimal bet size in all situations, enabling them to get folds when they want folds, and to get maximum value when they want value.

Here is a hand that illustrates an example of a player not choosing the best bet size, and as a result most certainly missing out on value:

Here we have a terrible hand in the big blind — {7-Hearts}{4-Spades} — but since it limps around to us, there is nothing else to do besides check and see a flop. When we then flop trips and the small blind bets, it is a wise decision just to call and invite some loose action with a couple of players behind.

On the turn, however, we really need to be check-raising more often in order to start building a bigger pot. You don’t want to be afraid of a hand like a flush. Remember that a flush is just one small part of our opponents' range. And we also block flushes since we have the {7-Hearts} in our hand.

In any case, once the river gives us quads and the best hand possible, we have one final chance to get the maximum value out of our remaining opponent.

We decide to slightly overbet the pot on the river which is not a bad decision. However, the optimal decision here would have been just to go all in. Why? Because...

Recreational Poker Players Don’t Fold Big Hands!

As I talk about in Crushing the Microstakes, I have made an absolute fortune in these low-stakes games by shoving all in on action river cards like this versus the recreational players. The reason why is because recreational poker players don’t fold big hands like a straight, a flush, or a full house, for any amount.

So in a situation like this where there is a strong likelihood our opponent has a full house, we literally have a blank check on their stack.

If you want to win at poker at the highest win rate possible, then it is important that you always get the maximum value with your big hands. Any time a recreational poker player in particular has money still remaining after the hand in a situation like this, it is a loss for you.

Even though we're discussing a micro stakes hand here, it is important to understand that while we "only" missed getting that last 40 cents from our opponent in this hand, that equates to 20 big blinds.

The average win rate of even the very biggest winners these days is only 10 big blinds per 100 hands, or even 5 BB/100. This is why you absolutely cannot afford to leave 20 big blinds on the table in a situation like this if you want to achieve the maximum win rate possible.

Remember, we play poker for the long run. These small errors where we leave a bit of money on the table actually add up in a huge way over the long term.

The reason why my win rates in these games are consistently among the highest ever recorded is because I don’t ignore the details in a spot like this. I get every last penny remaining in their stack when I have them coolered like this, every single time.

I want to know your thoughts on this poker hand, though. How would you play it? Would you check-raise the turn here? How about shoving all in on the river?

Or would you play it a different way? Let me know in the comments below!

Link mentioned in the video:

Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams is a poker pro and the author of the popular micro stakes strategy books Crushing the Microstakes, Modern Small Stakes, and The Microstakes Playbook. He also blogs about how to beat the micro stakes over at

  • At low stakes don't be shy about going for big value with your strong hands, advises @BlackRainPoker.

  • In hands like this, Nathan @BlackRainPoker Williams finds many players fail to earn maximum value.

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Nathan Williams

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