If opponent checks, you bet. Right or wrong?

There is an important transition in thinking than poker players must make to become really good at the game. In the beginning, we all focused on out hands, out outs, our odds. That is an important early step. But with experience we learn to focus more on your opponent than your hands.


Later we must change our focus from our hands, to our opponents hands and worry less about our cards. You start to make bets based on what your opponent possibly holds. If your opponent will fold it does not matter what cards you hold. It is a little hard to accept at first. But math backs it up.


Think about strategy vs. strategy. A strategy often discussed in poker articles and books is “You check, I bet”. As simple as that. Assume a $1 bet and your raises are all ½ pot. You always lose showdown.


Assume that if your opponent checks and you bet, that he will fold ½ the time. Sounds foolish, maybe, but let's check the math.


EV = (.5 x 1) + (.25 x 2) + (.125 x 4) + (.125 x -7) = 1 + 1 + 1 - .87 = 2.13 = +EV


This works best at low limit games because your opponents play too many hands preflop.


Like all strategies, this needs to be adjusted based on your opponents. A calling station will not fold often enough but average opponents will.


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