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Betting for value and to bluff

a lot of poker chipsThere are many situations in poker where you can bluff and value bet at the same time. As you progress as a poker player, you need to be aware of when you can start out betting for value and then needing to bluff and vice versa as well as betting for both a bluff and for value.

To better explain how we can bet both as a bluff and for value, we need to look at a hand example. Let us say that you open raise with 5c-5d and the big blind calls you.

The flop is 10c-8h-7h and your opponent checks. If you c-bet on this flop then you can extract money from players that fold which makes your hand a bluff and also by players that call with better hands that then fold to a turn barrel like if they held As-8s for example. So, betting in this instance is bluffing and value betting combined because both weaker and better hands can call that will then ultimately fold. Flush and straight draws can call you on the flop and then fold and as we have already seen, better hands that will also fold to another barrel on the turn.

If you can be a little more creative with your thought process, you will be amazed at just how many bluffs and value bets you can find in an average poker session. For example, you can start out betting for value and then need to turn your hand into a bluff to take the pot down. Let us look at an example to show you what I mean. You open raise with Qc-Qd and the big blind calls you. The flop comes Ad-10h-9h and your opponent check-calls your c-bet.

They would do this with an ace or a draw or even second pair looking to see what you do on the turn. Let us say that the turn card is the 4c and they check again. You decide to fire another barrel and make it two thirds pot which your opponent calls again. You now decide that it is unlikely that they have called two barrels on a draw and so place them on a mediocre made hand. The river bricks and is the 2s and your opponent checks again. If they don’t have a draw then you can only win the hand by bluffing.

You make a pot sized river bet and your opponent tanks and folds and then flashes you the Ac-8c. It was clear to see that your opponent stayed with you only while the betting was relatively small along with the total pot size. As soon as it became clear that your opponent wasn’t calling on a draw then winning the pot by checking the river was far less likely.

These sorts of bets used to escape me years ago and I would either check for pot control or make a blocker bet that offered my opponent really attractive odds that they would ultimately take by calling thus costing me the pot.

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