Is The Over-Bet Underused in Poker?

The Over-Bet

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 success bluff, sometimes you have to bet a lot. 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 2x pot size 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:

  • Opponent who has demonstrated ability to fold
  • Deep stacks
  • You’ve not shown down an over bet bluff already

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. 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 opponent who is likely to call an over bet just as much a standard
  • You have shown an over bet bluff
  • Competent player who can level themselves
  • Deep stacks
embarrassed by over-bet
Photo By Wallace Chuck
Don’t be embarrassed to try the over-bet

Caution

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 clocked 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.

I hope you found this article useful and consider the over-bet more in the future.

What is Small Ball Poker?

Introduction to Small Ball Poker

A poker strategy that has exploded in popularity in the last few years, small ball is an overarching poker mentality used successfully by professionals, yet often misunderstood and poorly used by novices. There are several components to playing small ball; hand selection, bet sizing, position and table image.

Hand Selection

Small ball poker dictates playing a lot of poker with a variety of hands. If you want to attack many unwanted pots, you need to widen your opening range. This varies player to player, but most professionals accept that suited connectors, suited aces and the paint cards have the most play-ability and equity to warrant including in opening raise ranges.

Bet Sizing

Small ball poker is what you expect, small bets. Professionals understand that a smaller, probing type bet accomplishes the same thing as a bigger bet and for less risk. This means many cheap bluffs. The underlying concept is that the player is consistent though. It’s no use sizing your bets differently based on hand strength, otherwise your opponents will correctly read your hand. It doesn’t take long to figure this out. Consistent bet sizing is critical to small ball poker. It means you can accomplish cheap bluffs but also extract value.

Poker
Photo by Keenan Constance @keenangrams

Position

As always, position is important. Small ball experts will play as many pots in position as they can. They understand there are an abundance of chips to be picked up in pots that people aren’t interested in contesting. As such, they will be opening an incredibly high amount of pots in position when it folds to them and also be calling raises in position if multi way and cheap. The reason being they can risk few chips to gain many. They understand the implied odds, that they can play the 3h 4h for a small raise when stack sizes are 100 bb + because they are risking 2.5 big blinds to bust a weak player who is prone to overplaying their pocket Aces on a 3s 3h Kd type flop.

Table Image

The beauty of small ball is the image you project to your opponents. By playing many pots you are giving the illusion you are a bit wild and almost certainly a bluffer. After all, you are playing many pots and often betting and winning without showdown. On close inspection though, the small ball expert is not betting crazily and big amounts. They are often 40-50% of the pot and carefully wagered, often heads up pots or when the time is right. In short, the table image a small ball player projects is perfect! An opponent may notice after hours of lost pots, take a stand and then bust out when they finally realise that the small baller is only playing big pots with monster hands.  

Warning

Small ball requires a player to be expert before and after the flop, experienced and attentive. Don’t try this style of poker if you are not confident playing many different scenarios. It’s also worth pointing out this is not the ideal strategy for most cash games and is mostly utilised in tournaments to build a stack without much risk.

This article has touched on just a few parts involved in small ball poker. If you are interested in knowing more or want mentoring in small ball, email us at info@texasholdemquestions.com.

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Middle & Late Tournament Strategy

Tournament players can struggle with the middle and late stages of tournaments. These key areas separate the most profitable from the average. We identify several key areas to focus on and improve. These include psychological, theoretical, mathematic and strategic. We will coach you in these areas to help you make better decisions and more money in the long run.

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  • Table image and reacting to it
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  • Adjusting post flop betting sizes
  • Adjusting pre flop opening raises
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  • Which stacks to pick on?
  • Identify which players to target and play pots with
  • Moving all in at the right time

You can now sign up for as little as 1 hour of coaching to get a feel for how we work with you, to help you become the best player you can be.

Texas Holdem Questions

5 Must Read Poker Books

Like any interest or hobby, reading and gaining knowledge on the subject will increase your expertise in the field. The list of books below are just a few highly recommended for playing poker well.  There are some great gambling books and authors available and cheap prices if you look around.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer
  1. Super System by Doyle Brunson
    Amazing book, must read for any poker enthusiast. Timeless book that still helps players today both online and live. It may have been a different era but the principles behind most of what Dolly says still applies, particularly playing draws aggressively. 
  2. Play poker like the pros by Phil Hellmuth Jr
    Think what you like about Phil’s antics but he’s written a great book here. This book is mandatory for players looking to improve their tournament play. Phil’s won 15 WSOP bracelets so when he talks, one should listen…..unless he’s just whining on tv of course then just laugh.
  3. Ace on the River: An Advanced Poker Guide by Barry Greenstein
    Barry goes into depths where other authors don’t in this book. He’s helping the poker enthusiast become better in all aspects not just some game theory. I can’t recommend this book enough. The pictures are an added bonus too.
  4. Every hand revealed by Gus Hansen
    Love this book, experience the journey of Gus’ thoughts as he plays out the Aussie Millions. It’s amazing getting an insight into how this genius but apparent “madman” operates. Excellent read and could read this multiple times easily. This book is unlike any other and reveals hand to hand what it is like to play an expensive live tournament. 
  5. Harrington on Holdem by Dan Harrington
    Both Harrington books are amazing and necessary for any no limit holdem tournament player. Invaluable advice with theory and insight that will engrave on your mind innately and improve you. They discuss the famous M and educate the tournament player on how to play short stacks. 

I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in poker books.

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Texas Holdem Questions