It’s important to get maximum value out of your hands, even the marginal ones. Too many players miss value, particularly in river betting situations with mediocre holdings that will often get called my weaker hands. The EV from those thin value bets adds up significantly over time. Novice players continuously miss them; great players tenaciously get their lion’s share.

Value betting marginal hands is extremely situational and opponent-dependent. For river bets you must have a hand that is a favorite when called. Ascertaining that is often difficult. What is your opponent’s calling range? How does that calling range vary by the size of your bet? What bet size does it take to get your opponent to call with a large enough range of hands so that his call is –EV? If you conclude that there is a size, is there a larger size that will be called less frequently that will create higher EV?

All of those questions vary greatly depending upon your opponent. What is your opponent’s mood? Is he ripe to call wide? Or is he a tight caller? How does he react to thin bets? Is he likely to read you as weak? If so, betting small may trigger a raise-bluff? If you check, are you likely to induce your opponent to bluff a worse hand that you intend to call?

You need to weigh all these issues and draw a conclusion. Is there value in betting? And if so, how much is the optimum amount to bet? Is there more value in checking?

Don’t just leave money on the table by auto-checking your marginal hands on the river. Think through the scenario and determine your best course of action. It will pay dividends!

I understand there are a lot of questions to answer. This article is meant as an overview of what the questions are. In future tips, I’ll delve further into how to resolve them.

Play well and best of luck!

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