Value Betting At The Micro Stakes

ValueBetting is the foundation of winning poker strategy. The term itself describes betting while holding a hand that is ahead of your opponents calling range. To show a simple example of value betting, lets take a look at a hand below.
You hold AK and the board is K7283, you raised before the flop and bet on the flop, turn and the river. You were value betting all these three streets because there's a high chance that your opponent holds a king with a weaker kicker and will call, thus you will gain the so called value.
This is a really simple example and quite an easy value-bet to make, but in order to win at a really good rate, you will have to make more advanced value bets, even at micro stakes. This is known as a thin value betting and even though it was a really advanced concept before a couple of years, due to poker training and overall skill level increasing at a fast pace, it's now a part of just about any poker game running. Lets take a quick look at an example of value-betting thinly.

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You hold AK and the board is Kh7h2c8c3h, you raised before the flop and were betting the whole way until river. Now the river completed a flush draw, but your opponent is known to be a calling station and could easily have a King with a weaker kicker that he would pay you off with, given that you don't bet too much compared to pot. Even though there's a chance that your opponent has a better combination (a flush), it's way more likely that he is holding a King or a hand worse than yours. This means that you should bet this river, expecting to getting a call most of the time.
Thin value bets is what differs great players from the good ones, some players don't get the importance of this and think that the difference is really small. Well, the difference in a single pot is indeed small, but it all adds up and significantly increases your win rate long term. Poker is a game of small edges and thin value betting is a yet another aspect where you can improve your edge.

Basic Tips for Getting Better at Value-betting

Value-betting isn't simple, don't get me wrong placing a bet and hoping that it will get called by a worse hand isn't all that hard, but the real challenge is when it comes to assigning ranges to your opponents. Lets go through a couple of handy tips:
  • Think In Ranges never ever put your opponent on an exact hand. Thinking along the lines of ''I think he has AK so I call'' is just plain wrong. Unless it's a huge coincidence or you are the master himself, assigning hand ranges in every hand is the way to go. If your opponent is an aggressive player, it would be incorrect to think that he always has aces, when he 3bets. There are just way too many hands that he would do this with, thus assigning him with a hand range that includes both, very strong hands and some speculative hands would be the right way.
  • Range vs. Calling Range there will often be hands where you are way ahead of your opponents range, thus leading you to think that betting there is the way to go. However, when value-betting your opponents range hardly matters. What really does matter is the Calling Range hands that he will be calling you with. If you're ahead of his overall range, but behind of his calling one, there is no reason to bet.
  • Noting opponents there aren't two hands that are exactly the same, thus every hand has to be played by taking its own, unique aspects into account. One of the most important aspects is your opponent and how well he plays. In order to get really good at value betting, you will have to get in his head and understand how he thinks. Once you do, you'll have to remember many aspects. To ease this whole process, I advise to write down notes that can be done at any legitimate online poker site.
This was an introduction to value betting, we hope that you understood the concept as that was our goal with this article. We'll look into more advanced things like range merging in an upcoming article so stay tuned.