October 12, 2019 Poker Strategy, Poker News Graham

Spots When You Should Go for Thin Value in Poker

Learning how to extract thin value is every micro stakes player’s goal. The days of soft tables throughout the entire stakes ladder are long gone. It is no longer enough to passively target small profits and feel satisfied with that.

thin value

What Is Thin value?

Thin value is betting or raising in a spot where you don’t expect to be better than your opponent’s continuing range much more than 50%. This is still enough to show a profit and mandatory to compete against skilled players.

One of the main reasons that the majority of players fail to break out of the micro stakes level is that they are failing to bet for thin value. This can be the difference between a break even player and a semi-decent win rate.

Betting for thin value is an essential part of poker strategy to succeed in cash games at 50-100NL+. Without having an understanding of where you are leaking value you just can’t succeed and make a decent hourly rate.

Thin Value

Poker Hand Example #1 – Targeting Weak Players

Most of your profit will come from playing recreational players and weak regs. With this in mind, you must make the most of your strong hands when playing against such players.

A classic poker strategy example is when you hold top pair top kicker. It doesn’t take long when learning the game to pick up on how much value a typical hand is worth. The trick is to be able to adjust for who you are playing against.

It is a usual pattern to see top pair top kicker on many boards being seen as worth two streets of value. However, against a calling station recreational player you must aim to at least consider betting all three streets.

Calling stations generally don’t fold top pair to a third bet so failing to collect this value is criminal.

We open raise from the button with


And are called by a calling station in the big blind

The board comes down


Villain checks to us. This is an easy bet with top pair top kicker.

The turn is


Once again we have an easy value bet.

The river is


This is where many players will see the possibility of villain having aces up, or a ragged two pair, and decide to check. This is a mandatory bet on such a safe board. Missing this value against a calling station in this and similar spots can cripple your win rate.

Against a reg it is certainly much thinner but the principal is the same.

Poker Hand Example #2 – When All the Obvious Draws Miss

An excellent spot to bet for thin value is when all the draws miss. Not only does it make it much less likely you are beat, but you will also get less credit for your river bets.

In this spot, when there is no ace or king on the flop, you will often find you will get hero called by less than top pair. This is an absolute gold mine for extracting thin value. Your top pair hands become much more valuable.

We open raise from the button with


A TAG reg calls in the big blind.

The flop comes


Again an easy value bet with top pair.

The turn is


We bet again for value.

The river is


This is another great spot to bet again for value. With our wide button opening range we have all of the draws that missed. A TAG that can read hands will now be incentivised to call our third barrel much wider.

Our opponent is unlikely to hold an ace because many suited aces and the stronger offsuit combos will 3 bet preflop. There is always a chance of aces up but these sometimes check raise the turn for value along with sets.

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