Valuebetting

Valuebetting 0001

Valuebet: A valuebet is a bet (mostly placed on the river) that, on average, is profitable if your opponent(s) call the bet. The difference to a bluff is that a bluff will only work when your opponents fold.

In this article I'm discuss valuebetting and how I use it. Players can encounter a similar situation to the ones I describe and decide to go for a different value bet or even just check. The concept of valuebetting isn't a trick you can apply. It is mainly about getting a good feeling for the range of hands your opponent could be holding and the size of the bet that will get paid off. Sometimes you might even encounter situations where your opponent calls your valuebet and beats your hand. In the long run you should, however, be able to increase your winrate by good valuebetting. In this article I'm going to assume that you place the valuebet on the river and that your effective stacksize is sufficient. For every scenario I cover I will also give you an example from my hand database.

Valuebetting with a strong hand

A valuebet obviously occurs with strong hands (the nuts, or almost the nuts). It makes sense to place a bet on the river here to get your strong hand paid off. Here it is important that you learn to assess the strength of your opponents' hand and find out what the best lineis to get maximum value out of this hand. The best line could be a small bet, a large bet, or a check-raise on the river. This will also depend on your opponent and the chance of him calling another bet. If your opponent is a very tight player it wont be easy getting him to call a big bet on the river. But you never know.

Small bet

A small bet can have the largest expected value if a hand is already made on the flop or the turn. For example, you hit a straight or a flush on the turn. It is pretty obvious that your opponent doesn't have a straight or flush, but more like 1 pair or maybe 2 pair. A big bet in this situation is likely not to get paid off. Especially when you're in position and you called a bet from your opponent on the flop. If your opponent then checks the turn (you could probably bet here) and checks the river as well, its pretty safe to say that he doesn't have a strong hand and the most value often lies in a small bet.

Seat 1: BB ($142.24 in chips)

Seat 3: UTG ($74.64 in chips)

Seat 5: HJ ($88.70 in chips)

Seat 6: Hero ($200.00 in chips)

Seat 8: BTN ($428.30 in chips) DEALER

Seat 10: SB ($212.15 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {10-Spades}{9-Spades}

Dealt to BB {2-Diamonds}{2-Spades}

UTG: Fold

HJ: Fold

Hero: Raise $7.00

BTN: Fold

SB: Fold

BB: Call $5.00

*** FLOP *** {2-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}

BB: Bet $8.00

Hero: Call $8.00

*** TURN *** {j-Spades}

BB: Check

Hero: Bet $20.00

BB: Call $20.00

*** RIVER *** {k-Spades}

BB: Check

Hero: Bet $36.00

BB: Call $36.00

Big bet

A big bet can have can have the highest expected value if you put your opponent on a strong hand and expect him to pay you off. For example you could have a full house and your opponent has 3-of-a-kind. In this case there will be bets on the flop, turn and river and all the money will be in the pot on the turn or river.

A big bet can also get paid off if you hit something on the river. For example, you hit your set or runner runner straight or flush, although you had already been betting the flop and the turn. You placed a C-Bet on the flop and a semi-bluff on the turn because you suddenly got outs for a straight or a flush. Because of the big bet it can sometimes seem like a bluff.

Seat 1: BB ($261.44 in chips)

Seat 5: UTG ($398.90 in chips)

Seat 6: CO ($523.50 in chips)

Seat 8: Hero ($201.75 in chips) DEALER

Seat 10: SB ($81.08 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {5-Clubs}{6-Clubs}

Dealt to BB {a-Diamonds}{j-Spades}

UTG: Fold

CO: Fold

Hero: Raise $8.00

SB: Fold

BB: Call $6.00

*** FLOP *** {2-Hearts}{a-Hearts}{7-Clubs}

BB: Check

Hero: Bet $13.00

BB: Call $13.00

*** TURN *** {3-Clubs}

BB: Check

Hero: Bet $33.00

BB: Call $33.00

*** RIVER *** {j-Clubs}

BB: Check

Hero: Bet $110.00

BB: Call $110.00

Check-Raise on the river

The check raise on the river works every now and then to get paid off. When you bet out yourself, you expect a call, but also after a check raise you expect your opponent to call. A very common line is betting on a draw, for example a flush draw, which then hits on the river. The check-raise is often better in this situation as, after the villain bets on the river, the pot is so large that he will have difficulties folding his hand after you raise. When betting out yourself in this situation, the expected value is the same as when the villain decides to bet but folds to your raise. This situation won't come up too often, but can be very profitable. This works best if your opponent has a high aggression factor on the river.

Seat 1: BB ($125,33 in chips)

Seat 5: Hero ($321.12 in chips)

Seat 6: CO ($715.50 in chips)

Seat 8: BTN ($348.25 in chips) DEALER

Seat 10: SB ($72.18 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {a-Clubs}{q-Clubs}

Dealt to BTN {k-Diamonds}{j-Spades}

Hero: Raise $8.00

CO: Fold

BTN: Call $8.00

SB: Fold

BB: Fold

*** FLOP *** {5-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}

Hero: Bet $15.00

BTN: Call $15.00

*** TURN *** {2-Diamonds}

Hero: Bet $35.00

BTN: Call $35.00

*** RIVER *** {j-Clubs}

Hero: Check

BTN: Bet $99.00

Hero: Allin $164.12

BTN: Call $164.12

Valuebetting with a marginal hand

Unfortunately you don't always hit the nuts or the semi-nuts on the river. Much more interesting are the situations where you are holding a marginal hand, for example top pair or bottom pair and you think your opponent will still pay you off. These small pots are where a lot of value is lost by not betting them. You don't always win them, but this is certainly a situation where many players fail to maximize their profit.

When valuebetting with a marginal hand, it becomes even more important to have a good read on your opponents. When they call, is it likely that you are beat or does their call-range mainly consist of hands that you beat? When there are enough hands that you beat and your opponents call you, then there is enough value in a bet. If your opponents are very tight and chase their draws, then these bets often have less value. They will fold their missed draws and bet or raise the draws they hit. On the other hand, if it seems like somebody missed their draw you can still bet. If your opponent then folds his hand (as expected), your hand stays hidden and it's up to your opponent to guess whether you were bluffing or betting for value.

Small hands and small bets.

Valuebetting with marginal hands is an essential part of the game. If you don't do it you will miss out on a lot of value, and if you do it this will become a main source of your winnings. As mentioned before, it is vital that you have a good idea about the range of your opponents, which you can derive from the course of the hand and your opponents' playing style. This could lead to situations where your bottom pair is good against some one who calls you with A-high.

Seat 1: UTG ($197.00 in chips) -> 19/16/2

Seat 3: CO ($94.93 in chips)

Seat 5: BTN ($160.05 in chips) DEALER

Seat 6: SB ($558.80 in chips)

Seat 8: Hero ($197.00 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {5-Spades}{5-Diamonds}

Dealt to UTG {a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}

UTG: Raise $8.00

CO: Fold

BTN: Fold

SB: Fold

Hero: Call $6.00

*** FLOP *** {8-Clubs}{9-Spades}{8-Spades}

Hero: Check

UTG: Check

*** TURN *** {6-Hearts}

Hero: Check

UTG: Check

*** RIVER *** {8-Hearts}

Hero: Bet $12.00

UTG: Call $12.00

Or you hit top pair with no kicker.

Seat 1: UTG ($56.10 in chips)

Seat 3: CO ($49.85 in chips)

Seat 5: BTN ($68.47 in chips) DEALER

Seat 6: Hero ($56.95 in chips)

Seat 10: BB ($45.50 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {k-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}

Dealt to UTG {q-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}

UTG: Call $0.50

CO: Fold

BTN: Fold

Hero: Call $0.25

BB: Check

*** FLOP *** {k-Spades}{10-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}

Hero: Check

BB: Check

UTG: Bet $0.50

Hero: Raise $2.00

BB: Fold

UTG: Call $1.50

*** TURN *** {q-Spades}

Hero: Check

UTG: Check

*** RIVER *** {8-Hearts}

Hero: Bet $3.00

UTG: Call $3.00

Small hands and big bets

Small hands here are often top pair with a weak kicker. Often the big bet seems like a bluff that, as a result, will be called by a weaker hand. This can be very risky at times, because you will have to put your opponent on a very narrow range of hands. A larger bet will not get called by your opponent very often. Then again, you don't have to get called that often to still get paid off. If your $10 gets paid off 100% of the time, your $30 bet gets paid off 90%, and your $180 bet gets paid off 25% of the time, then your highest value lies in the big bet. Actually you should also include a percentage for the times you lose the hand, but you get the idea.

Seat 1: UTG ($166.20 in chips)

Seat 3: Hero ($234.00 in chips)

Seat 5: BTN ($218.31 in chips) DEALER

Seat 6: SB ($66.15 in chips)

Seat 10: BB ($235.80 in chips)

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}

Dealt to BTN {8-Hearts}{9-Hearts}

UTG: Fold

Hero: Raise $8.00

BTN: Call $8.00

SB: Fold

BB: Fold

*** FLOP *** {8-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{2-Clubs}

Hero: Bet $15.00

BTN: Call $15.00

*** TURN *** {k-Hearts}

Hero: Bet $40.00

UTG: Call $40.00

*** RIVER *** {6-Diamonds}

Hero: Allin $171.00

UTG: Call $171.00

Conclusion

Valuebetting remains very important. Especially the small value bets with marginal hands are very profitable. You might not always win the hand, but you miss out on a lot of value by playing safe all the time.

The list of examples is endless. It is therefore impossible to describe every situation in which you can valuebet. It depends on your opponent, the course of the hand and the strength of your own hand. There can be a thin line between valuebetting and bluffing, because sometimes you want your valuebet to look like a bluff.

Enough room for discussion as it seems, and that's what the forum is for.

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