Betting for Value in Poker

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Poker is a game of lines that are so fine they resemble the intricacies of cobwebs. The skill element of the game is clear when you consider how many options you can take during every hand. Take betting for value in Omaha Poker as an example:

You are playing in a $1/2 six max cash game and everyone has a full stack. There is an open to $6 from the cutoff and you three-bet to $18 from the button holding [Ad] [Ks]. The action folds back around to the cutoff and he makes the call. The dealer burns and turns [Ah] [2s] [9h] and your opponents checks to you. What do you do?

You are only beaten by a set and, as you have a blocker to a set of aces, it is even more unlikely that you are beaten. You decide to bet for value but your opponent folds because they have nothing. You curse your luck because you failed to extract any value with your premium hand. 

Another school of thought is to check in the hope that you can extract a bluff from your opponent, or maybe the turn will bring them a hand that is inferior to yours.

By checking, you are being deceptive, but what happens if they improve and now have you beat. Once again you are kicking yourself. What if your opponent has a weaker ace? By checking you have lost a street of value.

As you can see, the decision to bet for value is often a complicated one. You should consider all the factors at your disposal before making your decision. These will include flow, player tendencies, and your own behaviour in previous three-bet pots. 

Consider everything and then make your play. Some you lose and some you win. Just make sure you win more than you lose.

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Last Updated 3 May 2015
Betting for Value in Poker