Many people say that value betting is the key to making money from poker but that all depends on the game dynamic. For example if your opponents are going to call you down more frequently then you would be making a mistake not to value bet when you had the opportunity to do so.

For example if your opponents were weak calling stations or the game was full of aggressive regs in a six max game then value betting would be the key to making money in these instances. In the second instance then fold equity would also be very important as well.

This is why in an aggressive game, a hand like 3c-3d has more value in flopping bottom set than it does in full ring cash games. In full ring then you are more likely to be up against a larger set when the stacks go all in with tight aggressive players with deep stacks.

Short Handed Poker

However in an aggressive short-handed game then bottom set can get called by hands like two pair or even top pair and more players will stack off semi-bluffing with draws as well as total bluffs. Value betting can only be done when your opponents are going to pay you off with worse hands.

If they don’t then you are better off with a different tactic of playing more passively with your value hands. This can extract bluffs and gain value that way or it can reduce your opponent’s total loss for the hand which is a good thing if they will only give a certain amount of value with moderate hands.

There is only a certain amount of value that you can extract from any given situation. If your opponent has nothing or bottom pair then you are not going to drag them into playing for stacks unless they backdoor a big hand!

More Streets of Value

Likewise if they have a mediocre pair then once again if they are tight and solid then getting three streets of value may be very difficult if your bet sizing is wrong. So against players that are tight and will not place money into the pot easily then value betting is less effective because there is a far greater chance that your opponent will fold.

The flip side to this is obvious because if value betting is less effective then by sheer definition then bluffing must be more effective. So the power of bluffing increases which means that value betting needs certain game conditions for it to work.

One of the things that you may need to redefine when you play in tight-aggressive games is in what actually constitutes a big pot. If your opponents will only place their entire stack into the middle with big hands then winning 10bb in profit needs to be seen as a good result.

Remember that it is better to win ten lots of ten big blinds and be sure to get them than strive for one hundred big blinds and your opponent simply fold.