A lesson learned

Back in the dark days when I didn’t know my backside from my front in terms of poker then I would often either bet or raise without fully understanding just why I was placing chips into the pot. Forget all this rubbish about “probe betting” or “betting to see where you are” or anything of that nature…….these are side issues for the only two reasons why we put money into the pot which are either betting or raising. We do so either for value or to bluff…..there are no other reasons.

Taking aside the rare instances that we are drawing with our opponent then we are either ahead or behind at any one time in the hand. If we are ahead then it is in our interests to bet for value. However a bet can only be for value if you can get called or raised by a worse hand…..otherwise what you thought was a value bet was just an aimless bet. If you bet and your opponent has fresh air then you are not betting for value. So a value bet is when we are not only ahead of our opponent but we also have some reason to believe that they will call with worse hands than ours.

If we are not ahead then if we bet or raise then we are bluffing. But a bluff can only be successful by getting a better hand to fold or a hand to fold incorrectly. Like for example if we held Q-J on a 4-4-2 rainbow board and our opponent folded 7-6. We may have the best hand but we still have a very weak holding. Had our opponent known what we had then they would have raised. Lesson is……if you bet or raise then you are doing so for value or as a bluff.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson learns his poker strategy at https://pokerdiy.comhow-to-play/strategy/

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  • There is a third reason for betting, which may not be so black and white, but it also does present an important part of playing (moreso in live games than online, but it is still apparent)

    Any move on your part shapes what other players think of you, and surely enough. One of the most memory defining things about a player is their willingness to bet in a hand. For example, playing a live game against someone who is shoving every hand may seem like he is betting to bluff, but then it just becomes betting for value when he is scooping the blinds on each hand.

    Its important to realise how your bets make other players perceive you. Especially when you get to more crucial parts of games or tournaments.

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