I want to basically continue the theme of what I talked about yesterday and that was the importance of finding value in no limit hold’em and all forms of poker for that matter. There are two scenarios in a hand of poker and this is that you either have the best hand in any one particular situation or you don’t……it’s that simple. If you don’t have the best hand then you have several factors that you need to consider. The first one is to simply fold and reduce your losses to the minimum.
The second one is to assess if you have correct odds to draw out both by way of expressed odds and implied odds. The third is to try and also assess if you can possibly win the pot by bluffing. When you bluff in poker then you are trying to win pots that you wouldn’t have won by playing passively. The bottom line is that you are trying to reduce your losses in situations where you don’t have the best hand. When you don’t have the best hand then you lose overall because you either fail to draw to the best hand or you cannot or do not successfully bluff.
The dynamics of the hand will often dictate that you cannot bluff like with too many opponents for example, not enough fold equity or pot equity or your opponents hand is simply too strong. So you lose money in situations where you do not have the best hand. The flip side of this is when you have the best hand. Now your primary concern is getting value into the pot by having worse hands call you. Now it is very easy to see when we blatantly have the best hand and even novices know that when they hold 3c-3d on a K-7-3-J-2 board that they need to betting something on the river.
If their opponent merely limped in before the flop then we can eliminate K-K from their range and probably J-J as well. So unless villain has pocket sevens then our hero virtually has the nuts. Not only that but there are many hands that can call him that are far weaker. Hands like A-K, K-Q, K-J, K-10, K-9s and even A-J, Q-J, J-10. You could get calls from 10-10 or even 9-9 but these are rarer when the games become more tight-aggressive.
However let us change your hand to A-K, can we value bet now? Well the answer is yes and no and it all depends on the action pre-flop, on the flop and on the turn. If you raised the pot pre-flop and bet the pot on the flop and made a two thirds bet on the river then there is far less chance that you hold the best hand. The amount of chips that you required your opponent to place into the pot was high enough for them to only do so with a hand better than one pair. If there had been little action for example on the flop then you have allowed your opponent to see the river with a weaker holding.
This means that there are more hands on the river that may call you that your A-K can beat. Now let us look at another situation and give you a much more marginal hand like As-10s on a board of K-K-5-4-10 rainbow. You bet the flop as a bluff and were called by the player to your left that had position on you. You checked the turn as did your opponent. When the ten came on the river then you have to assess this situation as one where you have the best hand.