Betting, Checking, Folding, Calling and Jamming

This article discusses the different actions we can take at a poker table and their impact on the rest of the hand.

Value betting

A value bet is a bet you make with the best hand intending to be called by a second-best hand. You make value bets when you're ahead. When you have a hand like on a board, you'll be betting for value, because you expect that a player with a ten will call. When you have a strong hand like this, you want to be sure to value bet all three streets in order to extract maximum value from a hand that is second-best. Typically a value bet is sized between two-thirds and three-fourths of the pot, though you can bet more. The question to always ask with value bets is whether or not they will call with a second best hand. If your opponent folds any hand that you beat, you're not actually making a value bet.

Blocking Bets

A blocking bet is a bet you make on the river with what might be the best hand intended to prevent bluffs from worse hands but may be called by third-best or fourth-best hands. You make blocking bets when you want to see a showdown cheaply. While value bets are more effective when you're in position, blocking bets are more effective when you're out of position.

Way ahead, way behind

Way ahead, way behind situations occur when you are either way ahead OR way behind, but you're not sure which yet. A good example of a WA/WB hand is the following: on a board. If your opponent has a range of hands, in some cases, he'll have an ace, and in other cases, he won't. If he does have an ace, we need a king to win, which gives us just two outs, or about an 8% chance to win the hand. If he doesn't have an ace, we're likely significantly ahead, probably 92% to win the hand. To learn how to deal with WA/WB strategy, watch our video on Playing Kings when an Ace Flops.

One Comment

  • Ernesto says:

    I love this section because is one area in which I need huge improvement.

    Value betting might be the best tool for an aggressive poker player. How I like to understand this is simple and is making questions to yourself like: If I have a good hand, why would I check? Don’t I want other players to collaborate to a pot that will end on my stack? How much should I bet to make sure my opponents will pay? Is check-raising wise here? Should I go all in now or will my opponents fold?

    I like the 2/3 of the pot bet on the flop when in position. I am the type of players who believes that winning a hand on the flop is the best because; why see more cards? On the other hand, depending on how good your hand and flop are, you might want to build the biggest pot as possible. These are very personal strategies every player develops with time.

    Betting the pot is a subject I don’t know much about and honestly have never understood why do it. Same as with over betting the pot; definitely something you will see at the tables but hard to understand. From my perspective, I only call an over pot bet when having the nuts or when 100% sure you are playing with a complete donk bluffing his hand. It is always a tough decision but personally I never use such bets.

    Value betting is a never ending learning subject. I think that you learn a lot about this the more you play. Having questions on your mind like: will my opponent call? Will my opponent fold? Should I check-raise and get information from the player? How would my opponents react to a minbet on the flop? Are questions that have to do with giving value to your hand and what your objective is in a specific hand. Sometimes your objective will be to finish the hand in the flop, other times your objective will be try and get everyone all in to win the most chips possible.

    WA/WB is a term so new to me, but definitely something you are always aware of when facing hands like KK with an Ace on the flop. Very difficult to make wise decisions in such hands, but only through practice and training you can learn to make the best call. One thing I do agree from the video is that an aggressive bet on the turn from your opponent should be a warning for you. As you learn poker and the more hands you play, you’ll see that a lot of hands are defined or settled in the turn.

    Keep on playing and make sure to watch videos as many times as possible! Good luck at the tables.

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