One common mistake among low stakes cash game players is not value betting
enough. Even when we have a good made hand, it’s easy to come up with scary scenarios where our opponent has a better one and takes all our chips. However, if you want to win the most chips possible, you need to understand when to value bet and how to execute it.
This is especially important to keep in mind on later streets. Remember, just because your opponent called your flop bet doesn’t mean that they necessarily have you beat. They could call with draws or even worse hands.
The first reason we can’t be afraid to value bet is because we want to deny our opponents their equity. For instance, if our opponent has a straight draw, and we check back and give them a free card, then they get a free shot at hitting their card.
Ideally, we want to bet big enough to make it a mistake to call because they don’t have the right pot odds, but we also want it to be small enough that they’re willing to call it. If we blast the pot and make a huge bet, then we’ll only be called by hands that are good and may beat us.
The key is to play that balancing act. When we value bet, we want worse hands to call.
Think in Ranges
Looking at the ranges of both you and your opponent will help you to figure out if a situation is good for value betting. If you have a range advantage, then it’s almost always right to value bet.
For instance, if you are the pre-flop raiser and in position, then your range is generally stronger than your opponents. If the flop brings high cards, then your hand lines up better with it. So, even if the flop is AK2 and you’re holding QJ, then it’s still worth betting for value. Not only do you have a good draw, but you also have the range advantage because a big part of any good pre-flop betting range includes aces and kings.
At the end of the day, don’t let your opponents get in your head. Most small stakes players are really straightforward. They will raise with their good hands and call with their marginal ones. If they are calling your bets and you’ve got a good hand, then keep the bets coming.