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Betting Your Hand

The skill of extracting value

by Matt Matros |  Published: Apr 02, 2010


There are lots of skills that professional poker players acquire over the course of their careers that separate them from recreational players. One of the most important of those skills is extracting value from good but not great hands. Most halfway-decent players have learned how to minimize losses with medium-strength hands. They know that they’re not supposed to pay off big bets without big hands, so they don’t. Maximizing wins, however, is another story. Most amateur players, even the serious ones who work on their games and aspire to making some big cashes in the World Series of Poker or other major events, struggle to win as much as they should win when their hands are strong but not the nuts. There is a huge temptation for these players to check behind, especially on the river, with a hand that can’t stand a check-raise — and it’s hard to call ...

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