Poker is a game that revolves around action – and when we say action, we mean betting. But, how is a newbie player with a basic knowledge of Texas Hold’em supposed to know when and why to bet?
If you’ve ever watched the pros on TV, they always seem to be aggressively betting. But, is this always the right play? Remember when you watch players in tournaments, you only see a fraction of the action, in many instances.
Therefore, it makes sense to look at the different scenarios where you should be betting.
Let’s start with the top reason and work down from there.
Betting When You Have It – To Get Paid
Betting when you have it is called “betting for value”. In order for a bet to have value, it needs to be sized right. It should encourage players with mediocre hands to call. Some players like to slow play their big hands, but you should be betting because that’s where you get value.
Don’t miss bets, simply because you’re trying to be tricky. As a new player, you should keep it simple and go for value.
Getting That Big Bluff Over
When you’re betting to get an opponent to fold a better hand, timing is extremely important. Firstly, you should only bluff players that you think will believe the “story” of your hand and are capable of making that fold.
Usually, you will be able to figure out quite quickly who you can and cannot bluff. A word of advice: You should steer clear of trying to bluff calling stations with that big bet on the river.
Scooping in Dead Money
The term “dead money” means money in the pot that your opponents have a remote chance of winning. Some of this dead money belongs to players who have already folded or to others who are weak.
In these situations, you should be looking to scoop up some dead money without too much trouble. These sometimes called “orphaned pots” are a great way to build your stack with little to no risk.
Bet enough to show strength without being overly aggressive, and you will find that a lot of those orphaned pots will find a new home in your stack.
Think Before You Reach for Chips
These are the top three (and really only 3) reasons for betting. You might have heard of “betting for information” or “betting for protection”. However, these are generally considered subcategories of value betting and bluffing.
Now that you’ve got those reasons for betting down pat, next time you reach for chips make sure your decision is based on one of the three explanations above.