Depending on the situation, an over bet is either an awful play or a genius one. There is not much in between, from a 3rd party perspective. This is because an over bet will force your opponent out of the pot (either lost value or a great bluff) or you’ve been called (lost far more than necessary or got extra value).
The truth is, there are scenarios where an over bet is the most profitable bet to make and also the worst bet to make. Deciding when to pull off a successful over-bet takes experience, intuition and thorough of understanding your opponent.
The Bluff Over-Bet
In order to pull off a success bluff, sometimes you have to bet big. With the right opponent (conservative) and deep stacks, an over bet bluff can be a great weapon to use. Whilst this same player may call 60-80% of the pot, they will often fold to an over- bet shove or double pot bet. They know they are not getting a good price on their money and will look for a more sensible hand to invest in. The over bet bluff is usually best to try on the river when there are no more cards to come.
You need a few things to be on your side for an over- bet bluff to be successful:
An opponent who has the ability to fold
The overbet works best against players you’ve seen fold in the past. If you’ve seen your opponent fold on the river to bets before, they have demonstrated they can release if they think it’s best. It’s no using trying to push around a calling station.
When stacks are deep
An overbet bluff needs players to have deep stacks. If you’ve bet your hand all the way down and you’re overbet is less than a pot bet, it’s not an overbet is it? Please make sure you and your opponent have plenty of chips behind. If they’re deep stacked, they are more likely to be protective than if they’re short stacked and pot committed.
You haven’t shown down an overbet bluff
This is an important thing to remember. If you have tried the overbet bluff and got called, your opponent(s) will remember this. They’ll be wary of your move and be more inclined to call you down. Avoid doing this bluff if it hasn’t worked earlier in the session.
The Value Over-Bet
This value bet is not utilised enough really. I am guilty myself and don’t use this move often enough. I think many people think they will waste value and prefer to get something than nothing. So they will typically just put in a decent value bet like 60-80% of the pot.
It’s a great move to pull off against fishy players who can’t fold a medium strength hand or advanced players who are prone to making a hero call or levelling themselves.
Fishy Opponents (Calling Stations)
Value betting is about getting the maximum out of any hand. Why waste potential value against players that are just as likely to call an overbet as a smaller bet? These players truly don’t care if you bet double the pot so make them pay!
You showed an overbet bluff
Following on from earlier in the article, you can use history to your advantage. If you tried to overbet bluff and got called, use it to your benefit next time. Your opponents will be itching to call you so go easy on the overbet bluff and use the overbet value bet as a counter strategy.
Competent players (level them)
Capable, thinking players will shock you. Sometimes, they level themselves in the face of an overbet. They almost pay just to satisfy their curiosity. If your opponent is the type to think long and hard, he may just pay you off.
Like the bluff, deep stacks are required for overbet value bets. You and your opponents need to have at least 50% more than the pot to make it an overbet.
Like most poker moves, this is not one to be constantly used against the same players. In fact, against a decent player, you can probably only get away with 2-3 successful over bet bluffs or value over bets before they’ve figured which you use it for. The trick is to master both.
I recommend attempting both in the future when your instinct tells you it will work. Once you have dipped your toe in you will soon incorporating both bets into your game in the future.
Photo By Wallace Chuck