As children we were taught that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game. Of course, all we kids knew that was total BS! Winning was great, and losing sucked. But in poker it REALLY isn’t important whether you win or lose. It IS how you play the game. And if you realized the highest EV possible.
Anytime an opponent calls a bet without receiving the correct implied odds, he has committed an error, and you gain EV. Anytime an opponent folds when he would have been receiving the correct implied odds to call, he has committed an error and you gain EV.
In limit your bet-sizing is fixed. And in many cases, your bets will perform better when your opponents’ fold. But in NL you can size your wagers to any amount. This permits you to determine your opponents’ range and bet an amount that your opponent(s) are incorrect to call. The optimum size to wager would be the largest incorrect amount that your opponent will call. Of course, that’s a difficult determination to make accurately. That said, you should understand that concept, and make a good faith estimate of the correct bet-size every time you wager.
For that same reason, over-betting strictly to create a fold is a non-optimum play. Yeah, it might win you a pot that you otherwise might have gotten sucked out on, but you’ve cost yourself the +EV that a called bet would have gained you. And that’s not optimum. That said, if an opponent won’t call a –EV bet, you’ll generally do better betting and having him fold rather than giving him a free or +EV card.
Over-betting is a common error with novice players who quantify success in poker in the conceptual terms of winning or losing. But that isn’t how poker works. You win at poker by grinding out multiple positive EV bets over the course of time. And you should expect to lose frequently when cards don’t run your way.
So, don’t over-bet because you’re afraid of playing the hand out and want to ensure a current victory. Size your bet to maximize your EV, not your win-loss percentage.
And if you size them right, you’ll win more money over the course of time, even if you lose more hands!