poker-graph-holdem-manager-28-mayThe best poker strategy to maximize expected value when we are against fish is to value bet big, since bad poker players tend to call down very lightly. That is exactly what I did yesterday when daily EV adjusted winnings at $100NL poker tables exceeded $800. The first hand described below is the perfect example of extracting the maximum value out of a Top Pair/Top Kicker hand. I also include one more hand that I played yesterday, which is based on value betting as well, although villains’ stats aren’t that fishy.

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold’em Cash, 6 Players

BB: $100 (100 bb)

Hero (UTG): $102.50 (102.5 bb)

MP: $315.22 (315.2 bb)

CO: $92.29 (92.3 bb)

BTN: $324.16 (324.2 bb)

SB: $136.76 (136.8 bb)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with Q of spades A of spades

Hero raises to $3, 2 folds, BTN calls $3, 2 folds

Flop: ($7.50) 4 of clubs Q of clubs 3 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $7.16, BTN calls $7.16

Turn: ($21.82) 6 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $20.84, BTN calls $20.84

River: ($63.50) 7 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $71.50 and is all-in, BTN calls $71.50

Results: $206.50 pot ($2.15 rake)

Final Board: 4 of clubs Q of clubs 3 of diamonds 6 of diamonds 7 of diamonds

Hero showed Q of spades A of spades and won $204.35 ($101.85 net)

BTN mucked J of diamonds Q of hearts and lost (-$102.50 net)


Standard preflop action against the 55/9/1 fish had me open with AQs from UTG position getting the call from the Button. Flop included a couple of draws like A5, A2 and a clubs flush draw, thus I wanted to also extract value from those hands, apart from Qx and mid pairs (55-99). The continuation bet was almost full pot with Button calling it, increasing the pot to €22. Turn card now offered a possible flush draw for diamonds (like QJ/QT of diamonds) and a 5 now had an open-ended straight draw. There was no reason to ease off the gas and I fired a second bet close to full pot again. Button called and the river completed both the diamond flush and the 7-high straight. Obviously the river card is a rather scary card for me, despite the fact that I highly expected the fish to hold a Queen or a missed flush draw than diamonds or a five. Given the specific fish I was willing to shove my stack getting a call from 88’s, 99’s and a random Queen than letting him check behind and miss a tone of value that I was building up during the whole hand. That’s what I did and fish couldn’t find a fold holding top pair.

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold’em Cash, 6 Players

BB: $87.75 (87.8 bb)

UTG: $103.32 (103.3 bb)

MP: $125.11 (125.1 bb)

CO: $124.70 (124.7 bb)

BTN: $287.44 (287.4 bb)

Hero (SB): $103.50 (103.5 bb)

Preflop: Hero is SB with K of clubs K of hearts

UTG folds, MP raises to $3, 2 folds, Hero raises to $12, BB folds, MP calls $9

Flop: ($25) 6 of diamonds 6 of spades 4 of hearts (2 players)

Hero bets $19.10, MP calls $19.10

Turn: ($63.20) 2 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero bets $48.32, MP raises to $94.01, Hero calls $24.08 and is all-in

River: ($208.00) 7 of hearts (2 players, 1 is all-in)

Results: $208.00 pot ($2.80 rake)

Final Board: 6 of diamonds 6 of spades 4 of hearts 2 of diamonds 7 of hearts

MP mucked 9 of hearts 9 of spades and lost (-$103.50 net)

Hero showed K of clubs K of hearts and won $205.20 ($101.70 net)


The second Poker hands that drew my attention this morning for publishing this article involved a 26/16/0.9 player. He is apparently quite aggressive preflop by opening a rather wide range but doesn’t like to bet post flop. He is also never folding against preflop 3bets! That’s why I wasn’t surprised when he called my 3bet preflop. The flop couldn’t have been more dry and I fired a big continuation bet, since villain was folding 29% to cbets, meaning a possible float was well in his calling range. Indeed he called and turn wasn’t fortunately an Ace that would either kill the action or put me in trouble. Again I fired big, although I should have shoved, since my stack was just a bit over the pot. I should either shove or bet 40% of the pot letting villain get excited and try a shove himself. Nevertheless he actually put all his chips in the middle and I took down a nice pot with my Kings against his Nines!

Value betting against fish or when exploiting leaks is one of the best poker strategy we can follow to extract maximum value of our hands. Increase your regular sizing of value bets when there’s a fish in the hand and your winrate will thank you for that!

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