Poker value bet

value betting in poker is extremely important. While many players have somewhat solid preflop hand selection strategies, far fewer play close to optimally on the other streets; ironically it is on these other streets that a good deal of your profit can come. While you may be occasionally lucky enough to find yourself at an 80/20 advantage preflop it is more likely you will have a 60%/40% advantage, like in the case of AK vs J10 for example, for even a disadvantage, like AK vs 55.

These broad generalities are of course important if you put yourself in an 80/20 spot long enough you will get rich, if you put yourself at a 45/55% spot long enough you will become poor but the disparities become much stronger later on in the hand. It is not uncommon to have 90%/10% splits on the flop, or even higher and of course on the river it is always 100%/0 for someone.

When value betting the river it is good to have a general idea of what your opponents hand is. Many players, for fear of a check raise or a slow play, are reluctant to bet the river. They may use such illogic as the pot is big enough but that is really a poor substitute for a rational analysis. In todays modern games, against todays super loose players, value betting the river is of critical importance and the looser your opponent the more frequently you should value bet. The nature of the board should present to you an argument for either value betting or checking behind but do not always simply check behind when the flush card hits; especially if your opponent is extremely loose or predictable.

While value betting the river is a common, effective and frequently used tactic, it is rare indeed to see anyone raise the river. While there are situations that warrant it, it is the conventional wisdom that if you are going to raise a significant bet on the river, you need an extremely strong hand. This is good strong logic; many of the times you will be faced on the river with the dilemma that if you raise all bluffs / worst hands will fold but stronger hands will call or even reraise all in, forcing you to a tough decision. Mind you, making tough decisions correctly is the only way you can hope to win at poker in the long run.