Gaining value from your hand can be the difference between a player being a very profitable player, and being just a small bit above break even player; or even the difference between making a player a break even player, or a losing player. Whether it be in cash games, tournaments, or sit-n-go’s, you always you need to make sure to get the most money possible from your opponent when you have the best hand. There are multiple ways to make sure that you earn the most value out of your hand, and we’ll break it down in a few ways.
Getting Value In Cash Games
Earning the most value from your hand in cash games is crucial. You are out there playing with real money, and literally every mistake you make in terms of not getting more in the middle, is money that you are losing. Be sure to three-bet pre-flop with strong hands, there is no reason to shy away from making your opponent add a little to the pot in order to get to see a flop. Especially in cash games, players are much more likely to add money into the pot to see a flop, compared to tournaments.
Another crucial tip for getting value from your hand, is not getting crazy post flop if your hand just doesn’t pan out. Having pocket queens or kings, and seeing an ace on the flop should slow you down just a bit. Put out a continuation bet still, in order to put the pressure on your opponent; but if your opponent raises or calls, be cautious throughout the remainder of the hand. If you do flop a big hand (sets, flushes, straights, etc.), don’t give it away. Try to get your opponent to bet at you, if you are first to act and you’ve flopped top set, just check. If your opponent bets, just call and check the turn as well hoping to induce another bet. Now on the turn, if your opponent bets at you again, raise him or her, and hope that they re-raise right back at you.
Getting Value In Tournaments
Gaining value from your hand in a tournament is a bit different than in cash games, as the players won’t typically be as loose and aggressive as they will in a cash game. If you are in late position and get one raiser before you, it’s not a bad idea to just call and hope that your opponent continues to bet at you if you have something like pocket aces or kings. Just be careful if you have anything less than kings that you aren’t actually setting yourself up.
Playing a hand post flop when you have a monster is a bit easier, if you strongly think that your opponent has a strong hand, let them bet at you; and on the river consider throwing out a bet that looks to be a bluff in an attempt to get your opponent to push. One of the most important things in poker to remember, is that you always want to be the one making the bets for all your chips, not the one calling; unless you have the nuts.
Getting Value In Sit-N-Go’s
We all know the sit-n-go strategy, and if not be sure to check out the sit-n-go strategy section! Just play tight, and pick your spots. A lot of sit-n-go players tend to get a bit crazy when the blinds to get up there a bit, but gaining value in sit-n-go’s is early from the word go. When the blinds are small, you might be a bit more action from players, but most of the time players will play tight early. With the blinds starting so small, three-betting a little will get calls from some players if they have an alright hand; mainly because it’s not a large amount of their chips that early on. So if you have aces, kings, or queens, debate three betting your opponent. And also, don’t be afraid to get it all in pre-flop early in tournaments with a big hand, doubling up early is always nice if you get a good spot.
Late in the tournament is where there are multiple ways to play it. If the blinds get big and players are looking to shove mediocre hands, let them; especially if you pick up a big one. If you are in early position and the blinds are pretty big, you have two options: you can either shove pre-flop and hope for a caller, or bring out a small raise (with the intention of going all in on the flop if you are called if you’re a short stack). If you bring out a small raise, you are likely to get called or shoved over top of by an average hand of a player, which is a good thing. The idea is to get they money in ahead, and with aces, kings, queens, or even jacks here; you’re in a pretty good spot to get it in ahead. The end of a sit-n-go is more about just getting it in ahead then it is about out playing your opponent. The blinds can get big quickly, so don’t miss a good chance to get chips from one of the top tier starting hands.
Getting value out of your hand across all three types of poker is similar in certain ways. If possible, it’s never a bad thing to let your opponent bet at you if you have the nuts, and it’s also incredibly important to three-bet, whether it be in cash games, tournaments, or sit-n-go’s.