In mid-stakes and high-stakes poker games then it is imperative that you have other reasons for your actions and this was something that I learned to my cost some years ago.
For example let us look at the following hand and how two various players at different stake levels would play the same hand and for what reasons.
The hand is Kc-Qc and the game is six max. One level sees a NL50 solid reg play the hand while the other level sees a top player at NL600 play the hand and their reasons behind it.
Have a Reason
Our hero raises from the button to 3.5bb and is called by the big blind. The flop comes Ad-6h-2s and the big blind checks. Now our NL50 hero sees that he has the “nut no pair” and bets.
This is purely as a bluff and nothing else. He isn’t betting for value because weaker hands cannot call. So he is betting to represent the ace and bluff at a pot where his opponent is likely to be very weak.
So bluffing is the sum total of why our hero is betting at NL50. However a top player at NL600 will rarely just be bluffing here. At that level then your opponents will simply be far more aggressive and so your bluffs will be far less successful which means that you cannot just be betting for that reason.
Different Plays For Different Levels
At NL600 then a strong player will bet both as a bluff and for value searching aggressively for dead money. Betting for value is harder to explain but aggressive players will float him with weaker hands where a NL50 opponent wouldn’t.
So betting extracts value on the flop from weaker hands that will call and even raise. So our hero at NL600 is betting as a bluff and for value at the same time.
His value comes from calls and raises from weaker hands and his bluffs comes from folds on the flop and folds on later streets if his opponent folds to a re-bluff.
So you can see that the players at higher stakes levels have more than one reason for doing what they do. This is one of the primary reasons why many players fail to make the transition from lower stakes play to mid-stakes play.