Value Bet More
I am going to revolutionize your game. You ready for it?
Value bet more.
I know, I know. Pretty unique advice, right?
Most of you are absolutely terrible at value betting. I mean, atrocious. Like, I can’t begin to tell you how awful you are.
Many of you who listen to my podcast have heard me rant about this. One of my students transcribed it this way. “If you have a good hand on the river and you check back without thinking, you don’t f***ing deserve to be playing poker!”
That’s a little harsh, but I am saying that because the average player checks three hands out of four on the river. That is bizarre to me.
The river is the lightning round. This is Final Jeopardy. Do you think you have the skills? Double down on your bets. Let’s play some cards.
Many people dread the river. I love the river. It’s my favorite street.
This is where all the real crunching comes in.
Most of you hate the river though because you do this one ridiculous play.
Let’s say you have A-9o on the button. You open. The big blind calls. The board comes Qd-9c-4s. The big blind checks. You continuation bet.
…Or at least I hope you do. The vast majority of your opponents are not balancing, and have no idea what a checkraise bluff is. You can get value from 3-3 here.
Anyways, you continuation bet. Your opponent calls. The turn comes an offsuit five. The new board is Qd-9c-4s-5h.
The big blind checks to you here. What do you do?
Many of you check, and I don’t get why.
The average player is horrible at two things, and that’s bluffing and folding.
This makes sense when we consider human incentives. When we call, it’s a freeroll. If we call and we’re wrong, we just muck our hand. No one sees. No one cares. If we’re right, we table our hand. The pot comes our way. Nice little endorphin rush!
Bluffing is a negative freeroll. If we bluff and are right, then we win a small pot. No one sees it. All we can do is that stupid little half smile that poker dorks always do when they rake in a pot.
However, if we bluff and are wrong, we lose a bigger pot, and everyone sees what a nincompoop we are. Not fun.
And if you fold you lose for sure. So that’s no fun.
So what most humans will do in the big blind here is call you again with J-10, K-9s, J-9s, T-9s, 9-8s, 9-7s, 9-6s, 8-8, and 7-7 if you bet the turn.
They will never turn a hand into a bluff. Believe me. I’ve researched it. People hate doing this.
The river becomes so easy to play when we do this. He checks to us and we decide if we want to go for more money. If he leads the river he has made his two pair, set, or draw one out of one times, because, again, people hate bluffing. And that bluff especially never works.
If you’re out of position you can value bet again too as long as you follow through on the river. You don’t want to check because that’s like telling your opponent, “hey! I have one pair or a missed draw!
Please play accordingly!”
If you bet small people don’t raise as a bluff nearly as much as they should, nor do they fold. You’ll get three calls from J-9 more often than you realize.
Just value bet more. Take those chips. The world is still full of calling stations.
Good luck to all of you.