# Value-betting: The Math

• Bronze
Joined: 08.12.2008
I know the principles of bluff for a long time already. There must be enough better than yours, but still foldable, hands in the villain's range for the bluff to be profitable. I believe I use bluffs pretty correctly.

However it's only now that I begin to understand the real meaning of value betting. There must be enough worse than yours, but still callable, hands in the villains range if you're going to consider it a value bet.

This may not be the best example, but let's take the imaginary hand:

MICRO NL, 6 players. You're dealt 99 in MP. Folded to you, you make it 4BB to go, button calls, blinds fold.

Flop: Q-4-3 rainbow. You're OOP. There's no point to bet, so you check and call a small bet if needed, right?

Now the Other Flop: Q-4-3 two hearts. That's were you already may start thinking about making a value bet because of any low ace (either small paired or on a gut shut is often ok for micro villains to call), flush draw, sometimes unpaired A10+ or 56 would all be able to call your c-bet.

I know this isn't the perfect example, but my point is that simply the addition of a flush draw to the board, might make otherwise pointless bet to become a value bet.

Do i get it somewhat close to the truth?
• 10 replies
Joined: 17.01.2008
Well, its good that you are giving it a deep thought ,but
In your examples, you cant really classify the cbet as a value bet, clearly because we bet for protection (and FE)mostly.I'd cbet both the flops, as I'd do with AQ or QQ.
A clear valuebet scenario would be having one of the latter hands(AQ is kinda better than QQ, since with us having a top set, there is nothing much left to call a bet,esp on the first flop).Having AQ on any of those flops you are clearly betting for value on 1,2 or even 3 streets(as long as you think that villain will call with worse).And yes, such bets are even more needed on a drawheavy board(and they should be bigger), but not only because villain can call with a bigger range, but because we need to protect against draws.
There are very good articles in the NL section on the topic, namely the 3 gold ones Protection vs Pot Control and the recap - Value Maximisation.
Be sure to check them out if you didnt!
• Bronze
Joined: 23.07.2008
I would have c-bet 2/3 after the rainbow flop. 9 9 has you ahead of most hands at this stage.
• Bronze
Joined: 08.12.2008
I get it. One more thing though - as the board gets more draw heavy we can actually slightly widen up the range we bet for value with, because there appears a greater number of worse (mostly drawing) hands for the villain to call with. Is that correct?

It would be like holding QJ on that same board. We could play it just a little bit more confident on a board with a flush draw (when we're not on that flush draw) than we would on a rainbow board, isn't it so?
Joined: 17.01.2008
Ofc you can be more confident, but that should not change your actions.You are cbetting both the flops in the general case with almost any hand you raised with(exception is vs station), and your bet should be accorded to board texture mostly.You dont have to worry much even if he calls you on the raggy board, its raising that poses problems.
But y, QJ can be an easier second barrel for value/protection on the drawy board, especially if a turn came a blank.
• Bronze
Joined: 08.12.2008
I'm still thinking about 99 on that board. Why to c-bet? I do that. You do that. But what's the point? You're either that much ahead that even a micro moron will get it, or you'll get called by a better hand than 99. At the same time you may perfectly go cheap or even free for the showdown value. Or are we THAT paranoid of the ace hitting on turn?

I'm talking about micro retards here, there's no need to do anything to create your table image or prepare them for something. You just play math for a pure value of it as if any given hand was the first and the last on that table.

So why do we c-bet 2/3 of the pot with a pair of 9's?

ADDED: Check flop, convince the villain we have nothing, maybe he will even catch a flush draw on turn and then we bet? This looks more logical to me than c-betting flop just because everyone does so.
Joined: 17.01.2008
First flop you may cbet like 1/2.
Why do it ?Well, as you mentioned, there are still worse hands calling us.Besides, you cant c/f when you dont hit and bet when you do(exception is station).And that board is good for nines.If you plan on c/c though, its even worse, as you are in a negative freeroll situation, since hands that we beat will check behind and hands that beat us will bet.Besides, there are still T,J,K,A that put another overcard, so we need to protect against overs.
Remember, you need to stay aggressive in order to win at poker.Its the only winning strategy.Besides, If you bet that flop and get called, you can always second barrel the ace(or king) you mentioned.Works wonders.
Thinking that every hand is different for itself is also wrong.Even the worst fish have perception, and can see when you are betting and checking.They may not draw any conclusions from the fact, or conclude wrong ones, but meta game is a very big part of poker.Its never one hand for itself, they are all in a chain.By playing aggressively against an opponent you gain much more information about him too, that can be used later.
• Bronze
Joined: 08.12.2008
C-bet flop for 1/2 pot looks nice and logical to me. Agree on this :-)

I didn't mean to say that your actions on the table get unnoticed, but it's more like they are capable to remember last three hands only. Try bringing \$2 at to any 2NL table, then fold 100% for one hour. Then make allin. Another one. And your third allin will get called by K4s, because they think you do that with any two by now.
Joined: 17.01.2008
Well yes, but then again, they may call a shove with K4s just because they like the hand .And it happens in higher stakes too.
You cant really understand their logic, most of the time there isnt any.But in any case, its better to overestimate than to underestimate them.
• Bronze
Joined: 19.12.2008
There is an article about c-betting in the silver section. It explains the maths behind it and how often you have to take down a pot to make it profitable... Its less than u think depending on how much u bet. I would say in at least 75-90% of cases where u were preflop agresser you should make a c-bet. It is likely that an opponent will only hit a flop 1/3 of the time so 2/3's of the time hey should fold really.

I hope this helps
• Bronze
Joined: 08.12.2008
You should be able to recognize i'm bronze on here and i can't read neither gold nor silver articles (if i could i would).

Anyway, this thread gave me something good. I did always c-bet for the middle of 2/3 and 3/4 pot size. So now i feel i'm saving a few BBs when c-betting unimproved middle pair or AK and folding to raise. I make it 1/2 pot + 1BB. That +1 is for the bet not to look as a weak auto c-bet of 1/2 pot.

This smaller c-bet also helps me keep the pot smaller for the next rounds. Which is good when playing marginal hands.

I do still bet bigger for hands like a flopped TPTK, but i believe that's ok at NL2. Noone is seeing any difference between 10 bet into 18c pot and 14c bet into 16c pot i believe. Esp when i do also sometimes lower the bet for a safely flopped set, etc.

Thanks for the talk guys, was useful for me ;-)