What Is Value Betting In Poker and How It Works

by Jovan • May 16, 2021
What Is Value Betting In Poker and How It Works

Poker is one of the most skill-intensive casino card games. Unlike many other casino games, poker is most often played against other players, so not only will you have to know how to play the game, but you will also need to learn how to read other players.

One strategy that combines reading other players and the basics of poker is value betting. If you’re new to poker or simply wonder ‘what is value betting poker,’ we will show you what’s this all about and how it works. We will also show you what to pay attention to when using value betting and how to make the most of it.

8 Quick Facts About Value Betting In Poker

  • Value betting is a type of bet used to increase the value of the pot.
  • Value betting is the opposite of bluffing.
  • You want the other player to fold when bluffing but you want them to call when you are value betting.
  • Most poker players will never bet more than their call threshold is.
  • You can learn what value betting in poker is in minutes, but it takes months to master it.
  • Value betting works in heads-up match-up, but also with multi-way pots.
  • Being able to determine the advantage you have over other players is essential for value betting.
  • Value betting is one of the most used strategies for cash games.

What Is a Value Bet In Poker

A value bet is a type of bet in poker that is designed to increase the value of the pot. This type of bet is used whenever you believe you have the strongest hand, and you are hoping to make other players call. 

A value bet is not the same as bluffing. In fact, it is the opposite of it. Even though you are technically “bluffing” a player with the second-best hand or multiple players to add more money to the pot, you are essentially hoping for them to call and are trying to represent an average hand.

So, what is value betting in poker, and how is it different from bluffing? Well, when it comes to bluffing, you are trying to lead other players to believe you have a good hand and hope that they will fold since, naturally, you don’t want to show a seven-deuce on the river and lose the money you invested trying to bluff.

Value Betting Explained

As far as value betting goes, the easiest way to explain what is value betting in poker is with an example. Let’s say that you are playing Texas Hold ’em and have a pair of aces in your hand. Naturally, we all know that pocket aces are the strongest hand you can have pre-flop, and at the most basic level, there are two ways you can play out your hand.

The first one would be to simply overbet and win the pot before the flop. By doing so, you eliminate all risks from losing on the flop, turn, or river, and you can win a small pot. However, in some cases, you may decide that you want to make the most of the pocket aces you’re holding, so you check, call, or raise a small amount pre-flop, just to add more value to the pot.

Another scenario where we could show you what value betting in poker is if, let’s say, you decide to play a 7/8 suited. Even though it is not the strongest hand, you may decide to risk a little bit of your stack to see the flop and hope for a flush, especially if no one bets or raises pre-flop.

Now, let’s say that, in that scenario, 4, 5, and 6 come on the flop. Moreover, let’s say that each of the cards is a different colour. Granted, the chances of you drawing a flush will drop significantly after a flop like that. However, all of a sudden, your mediocre hand may very well be the strongest hand so you would make a value bet and increase the size of the pot.

How to Work Out Value Bets

Of course, the examples we’ve included are just a few basic scenarios designed to help you better understand the value bet and the principle behind it. In reality, using a value bet is a lot more complex, and you will have to consider a ton of other aspects in a game to use a value bet efficiently.

For starters, remember how we mentioned earlier that you need to be technically bluffing your opponents? The goal with value betting is to conceal the strength of your hand as best as possible and have other players call because they believe they have better expected value in their poker hand.

If you simply go all-in with pocket aces, virtually no decent player will call unless they suspect that you are bluffing. If a scenario like that happens, you will only end up wasting a great hand without making virtually any profit from it.

At the same time, you need to learn how to find value in betting by being able to determine the strength of other players’ hands or at least have a good guess of what they might be holding. To do that, you should consider their betting patterns, playstyle, and much more. After all, the last thing you would want is to have someone beat you with a check into raise on the river.

Getting the Right Value

Additionally, after you learn how to find value bets, you should also learn how to determine just how much value you can get from a hand. For example, if a player has a full house and you have four of a kind, you will be able to extract a lot more value in a situation like that compared to if you have a full house and the other player has only a pair. The more other players believe their hand is the strongest, the more value you can get from a hand.

Lastly, if you wish to learn how to work out value bets, you need to be able to figure out a player’s call amount threshold. A call amount threshold is the amount players are willing to call. If you bet over their threshold, they might flop because they are not willing to risk X number of big blinds. Even if they have a good hand, some players are simply not willing to take the risk.

However, on the opposite side of things, the easiest way to learn how to spot value bets is to look for whales, who are generally bad at poker and have deep pockets. Because whales can afford to lose a lot, they don’t usually have a call threshold, which is where a value bet shines and can help you earn a decent amount.

Value Betting Strategy

As far as value betting goes, there is no go-to strategy guaranteed to help you win. Additionally, there are no specific hands that you should play when using this strategy. In fact, there are tons of different variables to consider and a lot of it is situational.

However, you can still adapt and use a different value betting strategy based on whether you are playing in a tournament or in a cash game. Simultaneously, while the principle remains the same, value betting is used differently in heads-up match-ups or when you are playing for multi-way pots.

For example, knowing how to choose a bet size is one of the most relevant aspects of value betting in cash games, whereas you don’t necessarily even have to push for value in tournament games because of factors such as ICM.

In a cash game, if you perceive your hand to have a 51% advantage, you would always push for value. However, in a tournament, you would use a different value betting system and instead of risking making a dent in your chip stack and potentially ending your tournament life prematurely, you may decide it’s wiser to play slow.

Multi-Way Pots

As far as multi-way pots go, more players means that the likelihood of players betting, calling, or playing strong hands increases. At the same time, players usually tend to be more passive with medium-strength hands.

A good idea in multi-way pots is to add a little variety to your playstyle to avoid being easily read. You can do this by adding semi-bluffs into your betting range. That way, you can potentially push stronger hands out of the pot. The most efficient value betting system for multi-way pots is to make other players perceive your bluffs as strong value bets.

Lastly, you should also optimise how you use value betting depending on the stakes. For example, weaker players tend to fold a lot less, making bluffing a lot more unlikely to pay off. However, it makes value betting just that much more efficient.

What Is the Value of Each Poker Chip

Knowing the value of each chip is essential for playing poker. Not only is it one of the first things you should learn about poker, but it is also a must if you wish to easily determine the value of the pot. Granted, while you can always ask the dealer or another player about the pot, doing so might be a small tell that other players can pick up on.

For example, it can potentially alert other players and make them wonder why you are suddenly asking about the pot size, which means they will play the hand much more carefully. Of course, while this is highly hypothetical and other players may completely dismiss the reason you’re asking for the value of the pot, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

For that reason, you should learn what the value of poker chips is before you attempt to use value betting in a poker game. Luckily for you, there’s not much to learn, and most poker chip values are somewhat standardised across multiple casinos. In fact, poker chips are most often the same colour in different countries as well, so if you are wondering about poker chips value in the US, you will be pleased to know that they are of standard colours.

These are the most commonly used poker chips in land-based casinos:

  • White $1
  • Red $5
  • Blue $10
  • Green $25
  • Black $100

We have already explained what the value of each poker chip is in greater detail on our website, so make sure to check it out before you start playing. The ones we have mentioned here are only the most basic ones, and casinos often use many other denominations and colours to make it easier for the players who play bigger or smaller blinds.

The Bottom Line

Value betting strategy is one of the most rudimentary yet the most effective strategies you can use in poker. The strategy is extremely easy to learn, but it will take a long time to master due to all the different aspects you will have to consider when value betting.

While its simplicity makes the value betting system an ideal strategy for beginners, value betting is also used by virtually every seasoned poker play. Furthermore, the more experienced and knowledgeable about poker you become, the more efficient and useful a strategy like value betting would be for you.

Keep in mind that we have only scratched the surface and shown you the basics of value betting. The rest is highly situational and comes with experience. However, now that you know the answer to the question, what is value betting in poker, you can implement it in your gameplay and use it to profit whenever you are playing at best poker sites in the US.