Poker without betting is not understood. It is the central part around which everything else revolves. That is why it is so interesting to stop and analyze the two main types of bets that we can find in a poker game, because thanks to them we can:
- Extract information about the opponent’s game.
- Measure the aggressiveness of the villain.
- To get the possibility of controlling the pot.
- Intuit if we are being bluffed.
- Check if the opponent is doing a good BRM (bankroll management or bankroll control).
Broadly speaking, in poker we have two types of bets: value bets and bluff bets. Within the latter, professionals make small nuances depending on whether we are talking about a bluff or a semi bluff.
Value bets in poker: what are they and what do they consist of?
Let’s start with value bets. Also known as value bets, these bets are basic and allow you to earn profits on a constant basis. They are a good strategic tool to guarantee the player’s continuity and keep his bankroll alive.
With little experience in poker, you will soon realize that it is not all about reaching the final showdown. The showdown is an important step to opt for the pot, but if you have not managed to make the bets profitable, it will be as if nothing happened. That’s why, in order to make your chips as profitable as possible, you have to make the pot big. How?
The best way is to resort to medium hands, which allow you to win pots if you bet well. The medium hands allow players with little experience to opt for prizes of an important caliber, to put bluffs into practice and to measure themselves against players of a similar level to improve their technique.
An example of good use with medium hands: a player with less experience than the villain bluffing because he thinks he has premium cards. The point is to take a chance where there is a chance and use the tools at hand to qualify for the pot.
What role do value bets play in this context? Well, they allow us to get the villain into a situation where we can squeeze his chips by increasing the amount of chips that are earned by winning the pot. Is that a good thing? Obviously yes, if we have a chance of beating the opponent, even if it is by bluffing.
However, value bets have certain peculiarities. We are talking about a type of bet that predominates on the river and that is out of place on any other street. Therefore, it is important to always keep in mind the times that are handled with the value bets so as not to betray the lack of experience that we could have with respect to other players.
The EV of value bets is always positive, allowing to enlarge the pot and also to increase the equity. But it is a bet that does not work if the opponent does not have a strong range of hands. We need him to call our bet. Otherwise, it will be of little use to us.
A value bet also requires monitoring the times that the opponent’s hand will be lower than ours, because we can fall into losses if this happens more times than desired. In addition, we will have to differentiate which river bets are of value and which are not in order to analyze well the development of the round.
Therefore, for a value bet we must take into account:
- The range of hands of the opponent.
- The preflop game, basic to analyze the development of the opponent’s game in later streets.
- The size of the pot.
- How the opponent bets on the river.
- What is the texture of the community cards in dry tables.
- What is the relative strength of our hand.
Bluff bets: all you need to know
Bluff bets are those bets that are made by letting intuit that our game is going in the opposite direction to mislead the opponent. For example, with bad cards we could give up the hand, but with a bluff bet we can show that we are in a strong position to put the villain between a rock and a hard place.
In essence, a bluff bet allows us to let a player with stronger cards than ours to fold and discard them. This usually happens with players who don’t want to take any more risk than necessary and who are not going to put themselves in danger if they see that there is a chance that you have stronger cards.
But not all players will react in the same way, so here we depend largely on how the opponent plays to have an effect or not. If he is a player who is not afraid of risk and will not tolerate being put in that situation, he may show the cards to fleece you or die with pride.
It is important to know that bluff bets are all based on fold equity. This means that it is crucial to analyze your opponent’s play in case he is able to fold with a better hand than yours. This type of bets admits many nuances and can be played with different levels of aggressiveness; hence we can talk about bluff bets or semi-bluff bets. The latter are usually more covert and allow us to hide the play more, although a good opponent will soon see what we are trying to do.