Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bug's Poker Tip #38

Bet only for value or to bluff.

There only two primary* reasons that should cause you to bet in poker.

The first is for Value. This is when you believe your hand is best. When you're betting for value, you want a villain holding a worse hand than yours to call. You want to bet the largest amount you can that will get called by the villain**.

The second reason is as a Bluff. This is when you believe your hand is worst. When you're betting for value, you want a villain holding a better hand than yours to fold. You want to bet (i.e., risk) the smallest amount than you can that will result in the villain folding**.

That's it; two reasons only. For example, you should never bet for information. You should not bet to probe or to "find out where you are in a hand." True, these are often beneficial consequences of betting, but they should never be the reason you're betting in the first place. 

We bet only for Value or to Bluff in poker. Period.

All-in for now...
-Bug
*Actually, there are occasional secondary reasons to bet in poker, such as for isolation or blocking, but these are relatively rare occasions. Value and Bluffing should make up 95% or more of your betting (and raising).
**Technically speaking, this isn't quite accurate. You actually want to bet the amount that maximizes your expected value in a particular situation. But thinking in terms of betting the largest amount that will get called by villain (when betting for value), or betting the smallest amount that will get a fold (when bluffing) is usually pretty close to the ideal.


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