As we evolve as online poker players and eventually (if it goes that far) get some very good coaching then we slowly begin to realise that our entire poker existence in terms of placing money into the pot is based on two key areas when we play in online cash games.

To win money in poker then it stands to reason that we must at some stage place money into the pot and accept risk.

This is what is meant by risk-reward. When we eventually decide to place money into the pot by way of betting or raising then we should only be doing so for two key reasons.

Betting for Value

The first reason is to bet or raise for value and the second reason is to bet or raise as a bluff. All other reasons are side effects of these two reasons and so do not actually represent reasons at all.

The two core reasons for placing money into the pot reflect one of the basic fundamental laws of poker. This is that at any one time then we are either ahead or behind our opponent in terms of our hand and their hand.

If we deduce that we are ahead of our opponent then if we bet then we usually tend not to be bluffing although in reality this isn’t always the case in online poker.

So if we do in fact deduce that we are ahead of our opponents range then betting is usually done for value. However to value bet means being called or raised by a hand that is worse.

No Reason to Bet

If your opponent cannot call or raise with worse then you are not betting for value but merely betting without a good enough reason even if you actually think that you have one.

Betting simply because you have the best hand is not a good enough reason to bet if there is no value in betting. Likewise with bluffing because a bluff can only be effective if you can make a better hand fold or a hand fold incorrectly.

If these two possibilities are absent or largely absent then bluffing is less effective. Simply bluffing because you do not have the best hand is not a good enough reason and simply spews chips.