How to Maximize Value on Your Hands
March 17, 2009
One of the biggest mistakes that poker players tend to make is to miss out on making extra money in specific situations. Quite a few players try to play too sneaky in fear that they may scare opponents away by betting. Others are overly ambitious and bet way too much, many times with less than optimal hands. The goal of this article isn’t to tell you so much how to maximize your value on any one specific hand or in any one position, but the things that you need to know in order to maximize your hands in any situation. A few things that we will touch base on will include knowing your opponent, realizing your table image, and last we will take a look at table position and betting. Knowing these few things will ultimately point you in the right direction into making a little extra money in those times you may have lost out.
It is important to know what your opponent’s playing style is simply because if they were a loose player, you wouldn’t bet into them with the nuts…no, they would notice that. You would want to maybe check the flop, and maybe make a small bet on the turn. Give them the opportunity to lash out and try to take the pot. Let them be their natural aggressive selves and put as much money in the pot as they want. Obviously, each hand will be different, but hopefully you get the idea. Now on the other hand, if you were in the same position with a tight player, you are better off betting the flop mostly because they will call if they have a piece of the flop, and they will fold if they do not. If they fold, it is highly unlikely that you would have made any money on later streets anyway. If you miss the opportunity to bet the flop and decide to bet the turn and he calls, what does that tell you? Not always, but that would be a good example of missing a bet on the flop potentially earning you more money.
This is single handedly the most important factor to consider because your actions of previous hands combined with your current actions will ultimately decide what will happen in the future. For example, if you are a loose aggressive player and you are constantly raising and reraising players, some people after a while will figure you for a maniac and start playing hands with you. The first time you decide to slow play a hand you will kill the action as they will become suspicious of your timid play. Hopefully you can see how your actions can really affect what you can accomplish in later hands. If you happen to be more of a tighter player, people will try to run over you and will fold when you stand up for yourself. However, if you are in a hand with a extremely loose aggressive player they may not notice which can be good for you. For a tight player, it will be very important to play enough that people won’t fold every time you come into a hand. You need action to make money.
The important thing about betting that you need to keep in mind is how much you bet and when. Lets say you have a board of Ah Kd 6s and you have top pair and your opponent has bet into you on the flop and you call. The turn comes a 4h with a possible flush draw and your opponent bets and you call again. Now the river comes up a Qc which stops all possibilities of a flush. Although there is a straight possibility, we are not worried about that right now. Your opponent decides to check. After betting the flop and the turn? You decide that he probably has a pair of K’s with maybe a draw. What do you do to possibly get more money? If you figure your ace is good, this would be a good time to see if you can get him to make a crying call with second pair. It will not always happen, but it is a good idea to try. He checks to you and you decide to make a ¾ size bet and he folds. Chances are, he decided it wasn’t worth more money at that point to see if his K’s were still good.
Now next time you are in that situation, try betting a little less like 1/3- ½ the pot and see if he calls there. If he does, you found the approximate size bet that he is comfortable calling with. This is important to remember as you can use this to induce folds as well for bluffs without spending more than you need to.
To maximize value, position plays a pretty good role. Any blind steal or raise in position provides you with the chance to make more money. Not to mention that you can receive more info, possibly saving you money in hands as well.
As we mentioned above, knowing your opponent, yourself, and remembering how to use betting and table position can ultimately maximize your value in any hand. Although we explained everything above, here is a “quick” list of things to try or avoid to maximize your value. Good luck at the tables and we hope this article will make you more money!
- When and When Not To Show Your Hands
- The Continuation Bet
- Advantages of Online Poker Tools
- Online Poker Tells
- Dealing with Bad Beats
Know Your Image: If you are a loose player and try to slow play a hand instead of aggressively betting the pot, more than likely no one will bet the pot for you and just check behind. If you are a tight player, always put money in the pot. Checking just gives your opponent a free card possibly improving their hand.
Know Your Opponent: If your opponent is loose, do not bet into him. Let them do the betting for you. They will throw as much money as possible at you to try and push you off a hand. If your opponent is tight, you need to put money into the pot whenever possible and just make sure you have a hand you can go to showdown with if they call.
Position: This is free money at it’s best. Try to steal on the button with a decent hand, so if you do not take the hand down then you have something to play post flop with.
Betting: Try to remember bets made that made your opponent call or fold. Use this knowledge to either bet smaller or bigger depending on what you want your opponent to do.
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