How Do I Get Value Out Of My Poker Hand?

Getting value on a hand means getting paid off, getting the chips. I'll list some tips below on how to do that:

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Understand What You Want Before You Play

Know which flops you want and which you don't. By thinking about all of this stuff first, you'll be prepared in advance and you can use more thought for what differs. You work off the wealth of hands you've previously played. Take a hand like 77. You know you want a set or a ragged looking flop. When you get your cards, you should already be thinking about your opponents and what they might do if you play the hand in various ways. Will I make more money check raising later in the hand? Will I lose players if I check raise on the flop or will that lock more in? Who is likely going to pay me off here and how do I best serve that goal? Does this guy have a piece of the flop? If so, what and how strong?

Play Against Someone Who Is Capable Of Paying You Off

The more chips someone is willing to push your direction when you win, the looser you can play against them. Likewise, the bigger the edge you have over the opponent, the more value you can expect. Avoid situations where you are behind in card strength and skill.

Bad Players Call Too Much

Against them you should push your hands and make sure all the bets get in. You aren't concerned with deception. Bad players are completely oblivious to what you have so just get the money in. Against good players, you need to be trickier. If the opponent will call, bet. If he is betting for you, then slow playing isn't a bad option.

Against Advanced Players

Sometimes the best deception is to play a hand how it should be played. For example, instead of slow playing a set, lead bet right out into them. Another example is raising a scary board on the flop instead of later. Say you flop a flush, don't wait. Sometimes the hardest plays to get a read on are the most obvious. Good players expect you to be playing deceptively and when you bet into them early, they think it's a sign of weakness. In the flopped flush hand, he will likely think you have top pair or a big draw.

In No Limit Hold'em

Learn how to price players in. Pricing players in means you bet an amount they are willing to call. Say you go all-in every time with AA, you'll never get any value. It's important to get a sense for each player and how much they'll call. Then on the river, for example, with your AA you can bet just enough to get him to call with his second best hand. If you never learn this, you won't make much with your good hands. You'll always bet too much and often times only get called when you are beat. Remember, with your good hands you want action, you want to get called. Betting all your chips on the river might be nice one of those rare times you get called, but the vast majority of other times it will get everyone to fold but the one guy that beats you. Instead you bet some, depending on what you think the opponent has.

Learn To Induce Bluffs

There are situations where the only time you'll get called on the river is if you are beat. In situations like this, it is correct to check and hope that the opponent tries to bluff. Worst case scenario is that it goes check-check on the river. An example of this is in a heads up game when you have bottom pair. The opponent won't call you unless your beat, but he might bet if you check to him now.

Learn when you can play more cards as the number of players increases. Don't think that to win you have to get paid off with your big hands. Often times the largest pots you win aren't win monster starting hands. Many times you'll slip in with a weak hand because there are 4+ plus players in preflop, connect with the flop and kill them. An extension of this is that if you know the game is loose, position matters less. A suited connector doesn't only have to play after seeing x amount of players first call. You can assume that if all the other pots are large volume ones, this one will be too.

Learn How To Check-Raise Multiple Players

In limit holdem, to get max value on big hands, you need to know when to check raise. Sometimes you want to make the opponents pay, other times you want to limit the field so your hand has a better chance of winning. You'll play differently to reach your goal. For example, to get more money in the pot and tie players to the pot, you should check raise on the flop. Each player paying two plus bets will build the pot enough so you'll get lots of turn card callers. Another example to limit the pot would be to check raise the turn. Players rarely like to cold call two big bets, so this is effective. With that said, many players follow the "half in rule." That means if they are already half in with their bet, they'll call the rest (not a good strategy).

Learn How To Slow Play, Trapping Players

To slow play well, you need to get in the mind of the opponent. Knowing what he likely holds and what he thinks you hold will allow you to manipulate him. An important factor in slow playing is allowing the opponent to get committed to the pot before you raise. Usually after he bets on the turn, you can pull trigger and get him to continue calling. This what we refer to as being pot committed. In no limit holdem, usually whenever an opponent has more than half his stack in the pot, he'll likely continue (unless he has a huge amount of chips). Many poker books will downplay the value of slow playing since you might allow the other players to cheaply out draw you. I don't buy into that. With your good hands you want them in to the river. That's how you get the chips and value on your hand. Revealing the strength your hand too early gives them an opportunity to fold.