The Value Bet – Common Mistakes

Value Bet

It is an art that is difficult to master. The value bet in poker is perhaps the most important skill to develop in order to become a long-term winner. It combines the complexity of hand reading, understanding of opponent and maximising value.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Value Bet in Poker?

A bet that is designed to get called by a weaker hand. The sizing is irrelevant, it’s purely betting for value, hence value bet. It is usually at the end of the hand on the river. Although it’s technically possible to value bet all in before the river.

Common Value Bet Mistakes

One of the most prevalent errors an inexperienced or unconfident player will make is check back hands on the river that warrant betting for value. They will check back hands for one of the three reasons listed below.

1)Fear of Being Check-Raised

The river check raise is such an uncommon play and rarely ever done on a bluff that it is not to be feared, to the extent most players afraid. It takes incredible patience for an opponent to make their hand on the river then check raise for value. Few expert players have the discipline and skill to employ this and fewer online. The typical online player will often just bet their nut hand on the river. They do this even if their opponent has bet all the way through, purely because they are worried you will check back.

2)Lacking Conviction

Many players who miss out on value are doing so because they lack conviction in their own ability to know their hand is best and assign a range to their opponent. This is because they don’t have the confidence in their own game or lack experience. Perhaps they have suffered too many bad beats or read some hands poorly and it has affected them. Perhaps they are on tilt. Whatever the reason, they lack the conviction to put in the value bet they rightly should.

3)Wanting a Cheap Showdown

Some players just want to show their hand down. They don’t recognise that they are missing out on lots of value in the long run. They are happy to check back on the river and show the winning hand. This is extremely detrimental to their long-term ROI and profitability as they are costing themselves money. I contend that many of these types of players even know they are checking back the better hand, but do so anyway. Don’t be one of these players.

How Much to Value Bet?

This is the key question you should be asking every time you are considering a value bet on the river. One needs to think what is the most amount of money or chips I can extract from my opponent. This is a complex question. It involves assuming the perfect and maximum amount your opponent will call, given their likely hand range. Ultimately you need to have good hand reading skills to do this. This will come with experience and over time will be second nature to you.

Value Betting Against Regulars

A pot sized bet gives poor pot odds; thus, a strong, experienced player is less inclined to call with a weak hand. Therefore, you you need to offer a good price.

Seasoned regulars have the ability to fold stronger hands so you need to either give them lucrative pot odds or be confident they will call a larger bet through levelling themselves.

Value Betting Against Weak Players

On the contrary, a weak and inexperienced may be happy to call a huge over bet. If you assign a weak player a strong range, they will almost certainly call whatever you bet. So, it makes sense to put in a large bet to get the most.

If your opponent is a stubborn calling station, you can value bet thinly. To protect yourself from value owning yourself, you can value bet like 20-25% of the pot. This will elicit the calls from weaker hands whilst also ensuring you don’t lose more than necessary for the times you’re just beat.

Correctly judging the amount within a few seconds may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Over time you will develop intuition, developed from playing many hands. You can always refer back to hands you played with poker tracking software. If you don’t have one setup, visit our poker resources page for our recommendations.

Conclusion

The importance of appropriate value betting can’t be stressed enough. A winning player needs to understand when and how much in order to extract the most possible. This article has discussed the reasons why people miss out on value and to avoid the common mistakes. To become proficient takes experience, thought and intuition.

To improve your value betting, why not read one of the articles below? Alternatively, check out our poker training services.

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, special discounts and promotions.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Photo by Dmitry Demidko @wildbook
This article was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated.

What is Rakeback?

Introduction to Rakeback

Firstly, let’s look at rake. You know how the gambling sites make their money right? The rake is charged on pots in cash games or on top of a buy in an MTT. Every pot or tournament played by an individual contributes to the site’s revenue in the form of rake. You play a $10 tournament and they will probably charge $1, win a cash game pot and they will take a percentage too. Rakeback is kickback from the website to you as an incentive to play more. It is essentially commission paid back to the player.There are two main forms which we will cover here.

Contributed Rakeback

The player’s rakeback is proportional to the pots they are involved in. For instance, if you are involved in a pot that is $25 and the rake is $2, you will receive a percent of this back in form of contributed rakeback. The percentage is dependent on the agreement but often around 25% so you will receive $0.50 for that pot.

Dealt Rakeback

This is where the rakeback from a pot is split evenly by those on the table. For instance, a pot of $25 on a 9 handed table, the rake of $2 with 25% agreement is split between the players, entitling you to approx. $0.22c. The scheme is more beneficial for the tighter player as it rewards you whether or not you are directly involved in the pot. Remember, nit poker is losing poker in 2021. It’s more profitable to adopt a solid TAG or LAG strategy these days.

Who is Rakeback for?

Anyone can sign up for it. Players who put in lots of volume and play regularly will gain the most. It can turn a break even player into a winning one, and a losing player into a break even one with sufficient volume. It also makes a winner, a much bigger winner. In short, it is free money and every poker player should be involved in a scheme.  There are millions of players playing that are turning down free money.

rakeback

Do You Play Turbo SNGs?

If you’re playing lots of turbo sngs you absolutely need to get on a rakeback scheme. There are lots of sites out there that offer good deals. Turbo SNGs are notorious for high rake so signing up to a rakeback deal will mitigate this and help your ROI. It’s also worth pointing out that there are players around the world that are playing thousands of turbo sngs on rakeback deals. They don’t need to play high or even medium stakes due to the currency conversion.

Conclusion

Now you know, sign up for it. It’s an essential to any and all poker players. Whether you are playing recreationally or professionally, you want to make money from poker and rakeback is way of contributing to this, for free. If you are making full use of your poker tracking software and employing bankroll management, you’ll find yourself moving up stakes in no time with the addition of a rakeback scheme.


Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, special discounts and promotions.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Pot Odds – The Easy to Understand Basics

What are Pot Odds?

You have probably heard of pot odds but maybe you’re not sure what they are or how to calculate them? Don’t worry, everyone has been there. Basically, pot odds are the comparison of the cost of making a call compared to the size of the pot. It is usually expressed as a ratio; however, the far more valuable tool is the conversion of ratio to percentage. Most poker players find it easier to understand things as percentages than ratios.

How to Calculate Pot Odds?

Pot Size Versus Amount to Call = Pot Odds as Ratio
$100: $10 or 10:1
I think it is more valuable to see this as a percentage. To convert this, we simply add the pot size and the amount to call and divide the amount to call by the pot size. Using the example above, it would be:

$100 + $10 = $110
$10 / $110 = 9%

What is the Point?

Understanding the maths is very important to being a long-term winner at poker. Decision making is often based on the maths aspect, is a call profitable? Are they bluffing often enough? etc. In order to use poker maths effectively, a poker player combines the context of the situation with the odds at hand. It also allows one to manipulate the pot odds and enforce errors on the part of your opponents. This is a key skill requirement for winning poker.
Let’s look at an example of how pot odds could be used for important decision making.

pot odds
Photo by Chris Liverani

Example of using Pot Odds

The pot is $50 on the turn with just the river left to come. Player A has a flush draw holding Kc 10c:

The board reads:

pot odds

Player B has Ad 8d:

Player B is considering how much to bet with their top two pair. By betting $30, the pot will be $80 and Player A will be getting $30 for a pot of $110.  Using the method above, we can see this can be converted to represent 27%.

With a flush draw and one card to come we know there is approximately 18% chance of Player A making the best hand, thus, the bet enforces an error on the part of Player A as they are not getting a sufficient price to make the call.

On the other hand, if Player B bets $10, Player A will have 16.6% and a turn call becomes profitable. See how important it is to size your bets?

Conclusion

As we can see from the above example, pot odds can influence decision making and affect your long-term profitability. They should be used in combination with your hand reading, context and implied odds (look out for future article on implied odds). One of the great things about poker is you are in control of your decisions. By understanding odds and relative hand strength, you can learn to manipulate pot sizes (something not possible with slot odds) how you want to and enforce mistakes from opponents.

If you are interested in poker maths and record keeping read out poker spread article from below.

ITM Poker Ratio for Tournaments

What is “ITM”?

An abbreviation of “In The Money”, ITM is a term used in tournament poker to quantify the rate at which a poker player will make the money/cash in a tournament.

Benefits of ITM

Keeping tabs on your ITM poker rate means you are exercising good record keeping and on top of your cash rate. It also means you can prudently forecast how many tournaments you will cash in next month based on the number you enter.  It shows you are serious about your tournament poker, keen to monitor and track your performance.

Restrictions of ITM

Calculating your ITM is great, but it is not an indication of how profitable you are. After all, you might cash most of the time but never make it past the 1st or 2nd level after cashing. This would mean you have a poor hourly and poor ROI. Tracking your ROI is far more beneficial than looking at your ITM. I recommend using both methods if you are a serious tournament poker player looking to improve.

How Do I Calculate ITM?

Calculating your ITM is easy. Just use the formula below:

# Cashes/ # MTTS entered Multiplied by 100 = ITM Rate as %
E.G 10 cashes / 90 MTTs entered x 100 = 11% ITM Rate

What is a Good ITM Rate?

I think setting a target of 20-22% is challenging but realistic enough to shoot for. If you are consistently getting above this than you are doing very well. Most MTT experts accept 15 – 20% as a decent cash rate.  If you are recording significantly less than this, than you need to look at the MTTS you play and the strategy you employ.  

ITM Poker
20% is considered a strong ITM rate by professionals

How Can I Improve my ITM rate?

Picking the right moments to move your chips and a survival attitude will improve your cash rate. Our poker training video membership is almost exclusively based on tournaments. You can watch tournaments played by an expert who has hundreds of thousands in online earnings, including a Sunday Million final table. You can become a member today for £49.99. Click below to pay for 12 months membership, that does not auto-renew. Once payment has been made, you will be sent your personal login details by email (within 24 hours).

Get unlimited access to every video we upload. Increase your ITM rate and start crushing poker tournaments today!

Caution

Having a good ITM poker rate is awesome but it’s important to remember that the goal when playing tournaments is to make as much money as possible. If you are adopting a nitty style that eeks you into the money a lot of the time but rarely a deep run or final table, then you need to rethink your strategy.

Tournaments will always reward those who finish in the highest places. To achieve this, you have to take calculated risks, steal the blinds and build a decent stack. You need to be the player taking advantage of those that are trying to survive the next level of pay and not the one that is scared to bubble or not cash. We’re here to make money not double our buy in.

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you’d like to read our Poker Tournament Strategy or Final Tables Tips?

Have you considered using Excel for your tournament ITM tracking? Do you have a dashboard yet? We produce monthly reporting to help you keep track of your winning, make more informed decisions and earn more money from poker.

If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to bookmark us and return in the future. All you need to do is “press CTRL + D”.

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, special discounts and promotions.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Focus

This is so simple and obvious but a worthy reminder for all poker players. We often forget though; just how important it is to concentrate and focus. You’re following twitter, checking the football scores, chatting to friends and still playing poker at the same time?
Poker is hard enough now trying to overcome the tougher calibre players and bad beats without diminishing what edge you do have.

How many tables are you playing? Is this your optimum amount to play at or have you even thought about how many tables are your optimum for playing? Does it differ between tournaments and cash games? Perhaps you need more focus on cash games so need to reduce tables there but can play more tables with tournaments.

Players often just play on autopilot or robotically, don’t become complacent and do the same! If you want to win regularly and maximise your earnings, you need to focus.

I challenge you to do an audit of yourself and find out how focused you are. Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with yourselves.

  • Are you playing the optimum number of tables?
  • Are you doing other things whilst playing?
  • Have you played on “auto-pilot” in the last week?
  • Have you played whilst tired in the last week?

If you’re answering yes to any of the above questions then you are sacrificing some of your edge and costing yourself money. Don’t give up any of your edge, FOCUS!

 

Texas Holdem Questions