Getting Postflop Value In Poker

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One of the most important skills in poker is getting postflop value.  The majority of your winrate is actually derived from value hands, so knowing when and how to bet them is crucial.  In this free video you will learn what goes into value betting and maximizing your winnings from the flop onwards.  Or if you enjoy reading more, the script to the video can be found below.  Enjoy!

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Hello, and welcome to this Quick Plays video on Value Betting. Value Betting is the cornerstone of profitable poker and to succeed in poker we need to fully understand what this bet is and when to make it. In this video we will define a value bet, show how value is relative, and explain why our poker profits come from value betting well.

First, what is a value bet? A value bet is a bet where we expect our hand is ahead of the range of hands our opponent would continue with. We can contrast this to bluffing where our goal is to get our opponent to fold better hands often enough to show a profit.

Now the key element to the definition of a value bet is that our hand is ahead of the RANGE that our opponent would continue with. So if we bet and we are ahead of the range that villain would call OR raise with, it’s a value bet. If villain would only call OR raise with hands that beat our hand, it is not a value bet.

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Let’s look at an example to make this more tangible…

In this hand we open Ace Jack from EP, MP calls, and we see a heads up flop of Q62 rainbow. We CB and get called. On the turn we improve to a Jack and we need to choose an action. Players new to this concept may just look at this spot and say “well we have a decent pair so we should bet”. But as we know based on the definition of a value bet that is not a complete rationale.

We need to assign villain a range of hands before we can decide if a bet here is actually for value. Let’s just say that villain has a range of 88, 65s, KQ, 22, and AT when he gets to the turn. Of course, this isn’t a complete or even correct range…but we’ll use it for this example to simplify the spot. Knowing the range of hands he has on the turn is useful, but this is only a value bet if he would continue against our bet with enough of those worse hands!

This is where most players get confused. They bet because they are ahead of hands like 88, 65s, and AT, forgetting that we need villain to continue with those hands for this bet to actually be for value. So if we would bet here for $12 and he never continues with 88, 65s, and AT…then our bet isn’t really for value since the only hands he continues with crush our pair of Jacks.

postflop values

Now this does NOT mean that we can never value bet with second pair. If MP were a really awful player that never folds, then a bet on the turn can easily be for value. If MP would call a $12 bet with hands like 88, 65, randomly turned draws, and other worse pairs then the bet is certainly for value. We still aren’t folding out his better hands like Qx or sets, but he now continues against our bet with plenty of worse hands to justify making a value bet.

This is why it is easier to value bet against bad players than it is against tight players. Tight TAG players tend to only continue, especially on turns and rivers, with very strong hands. That makes it tough to value bet against them on turns and rivers but easy to bluff them. Conversely, bad players call too often and too wide, even on turns and rivers, which makes it easy to value bet them but difficult to bluff them.

Let’s say in this exact situation that MP wouldn’t continue with enough worse hands to justify a value bet. For the record, we need at least 50% of villain’s continuing range to contain worse hands for a bet to be for value. If we don’t think that could happen here, then our only option left is to check. This doesn’t mean that we will always check/call or check/fold, just that a bet wouldn’t be for value. Once we check we still need to play poker.

postflop decision

In this hand hero decides to check/call the turn and wins once the river goes check/check.

The results aren’t nearly as important as the concept though. Remember, for a bet to be for value we need to beat at least half of villain’s continuing range. If he would only continue with hands that beat you, either by calling or raising, the bet isn’t for value. If the majority of his continuing range beats your hand the bet isn’t for value. This is also why hand reading is so important so you can assign correct ranges and more aptly estimate if a bet is for value…but hand reading is a topic for a whole nother video.

And just to prove to you why value betting is so vital, look at the most winning hands in your database. The top winning hands in a big sample size are going to be hands like AA, KK, AK, and QQ…hands that are primarily value re-raising preflop and value betting postflop. So any improvements you can make in value betting is only going to improve your winrates with these hands as well as tougher hands like AT, KJ, and 99.

poker value results

While playing you want to constantly ask yourself if a bet would actually be for value. Certain variables can influence a value bet, such as size and board texture, but if you just constantly ask yourself “would my opponent continue with enough worse hands if I bet?” you will find yourself making better decisions more often. Knowing when a bet is for value or bluff is one of the most basic and necessary concepts for any poker player, so make sure you understand it before making another bet!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to let me know, otherwise good luck and happy grinding!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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