Top 5 “Thin Value” Spots You May Be Missing

Phil Collins
Recognizing and betting for thin value gets you places.

Missing "thin value" bets on the river won’t make you a losing Texas Hold'em player.

But correctly recognizing opportunities and betting when it’s correct can add valuable points to your win rate.

A thin value bet is a value bet that may not be obvious at first.

It's a bet, generally on the river, where your hand is weaker than your normal value range but you realize your opponent can still call with a worse hand.

These are the top 5 common spots you can make thin value bets.

5. When the flush draw misses

Probably the most obvious and yet somehow still the most effective thin value spot.

When there's a flopped flush draw and you barrel the flop and the turn, then the river bricks, your opponent is going to much more willing than usual to call with nearly any made hand - especially if you have an aggressive image.

People love to put their opponents on draws so use it to your advantage when that draw misses.

An example:

$1/$2 No-Limit Hold'em; $200 effective stacks.

Phil Galfond

It's folded to you on the button. You raise J T to $6 and the regular in the big blind calls.

The flop comes 8 J 3. He checks and you bet $8.

He calls. The turn comes Q, he checks and you bet $30.

He calls. The river comes 2 and he checks.

You should be much more willing than normal to bet your second pair with a weakish kicker.

There were two flush draws and they both bricked. Your opponent is going to put you on a flush draw and call with a much wider range than normal.

4. When the top card on the board pairs

When the top card pairs on the river your opponent is often going to discount the fact that you have top pair/now trips because of card removal.

And when your opponent discounts your ability to have top pair, he defaults to calling more often with second pair.

If you have a hand like second pair, decent kicker or an over pair slightly smaller than the paired top card, you can now get value from those second-pair hands.

3. When you're near the top of your weak made-hand range

If you have a made hand that's near the top of your range, even if it's weak, it can be bet for value vs. a thinking opponent.

An example:

$1/$2, $200 effective stacks. You raise in the cut-off to $6 with T 8.

Tom Dwan

The button calls and the blinds fold. The flop comes Q 8 4. You c-bet $8 and he calls.

The turn comes 4. You check and he checks behind.

The river comes 6.

You can bet this river for thin value because it looks like you fired one c-bet, then gave up the turn and are now bluffing on the river.

Because you would likely double barrel most top-pair hands your opponent is going to believe you're bluffing.

He'll probably be willing to call with a worse eight - something like 8 7, 8 9 or a missed gutshot that made a pair.

If you were to check, your opponent would likely check behind with his showdown-value hand. But by betting you can get him to call with that same weak showdown hand because your range is weak.

Your range is weak, but you're near the top of it so you can get value from your opponent's bluff catchers.

2. When an obvious scare card falls against a thinking opponent

This is an obvious second level. When a scare card falls your opponent is going to expect you to bluff at it at a high % of the time.

Thus he's going to adjust by calling down lighter. You can take advantage of this by betting some of your better "showdown value" hands for thin value.

1. When your range is heavily weighted towards bluffs

This is basically the running theme of this entire article and concept. The more bluffs that are in your range, the more you can bet for thin value.

The reasons are blatantly obvious. When your range is heavily weighted towards bluffs, your opponent is going to adjust by calling down with a much wider range.

When they're calling with more hands, you can value bet more hands. It's as simple as that

Last Words

Value-betting thinly is a skill that takes practice.

You must be acutely aware of both your perceived range and your opponent's range when deciding whether or not to bet the river for thin value. 

If you don't really think about both your ranges you're just going to be clicking buttons - and in that case you can't be surprised when you're continually value-towning yourself with a worse hand than your opponent's.

However, if you really think about your range and your opponent's, there are a ton of spots on the river you may have checked through in the past where you can actually pick up thin value.

The difference of course is extra dollars in your online poker bankroll and points on your win rate.

More articles by Daniel Skolovy

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Frank 2011-09-05 08:48:27

Thin value is where you value bet marginal hands on the river and expect to make only a small profit from those value bets over the long run.

Adrien 2010-10-25 13:03:03

#5 cant be good valuebet on turn or river, at best turn bet is protection bet with rarely the best hand once called.
If this was against a 54/3 fish id valuebet 3 streets all day but this is a regular and regulars in general dont defend more than 30% of hands here, then once you bet the turn they're folding most of their range except for maybe 99 and J9+ and also turned queens with AQ and KsQs + you would hate getting raised here.
So once you get to the river villains likely range is J9+ and KQs/AQ + maybe 99.

Johnny Cashout 2010-07-20 09:10:32

Excellent post. Very useful information, value betting is often overlooked by most players and can be the key step in increasing their winnings and bankroll. I look forward to your other posts!

-Johnnycashout

chojrak 2010-07-14 07:34:31

One more observation. In your example hands like like 89 or 87 would end up splitting the pot with you, even they are weaker from the start. The hand both of you would have is 8 8 4 4 Q so the pot would be a tie. Unless he catch a 6 on the river any bet here is futile.

PS. Sorry for the 3 posts but I've seen the problems one by one.

chojrak 2010-07-14 07:29:52

I made a mistake. AQ and KQ are not in his range since he checked the turn. But I still sustain my point of view with the mistake of the value-bet.

chojrak 2010-07-14 07:25:34

Daniel, on no.3 I'm not so sure that it's a good idea to value-bet, although of course I might be wrong.

For example in his range are hands like AQ, KQ, QJ, QT, maybe even Q9s, A8, sometimes even J8s. So against his range I'm not so sure the thin value-bet is properly here and also it's not very likely that he called on the flop with 76 or 56. Of course al small 8 might call also but this kind of value-bet I think should be more likely made against calling stations.

Can you give me further explanations please, as I'm myself a semi-pro. Thanks.

RMG 2010-05-04 23:34:44

Thanks for your answer Sean but i already read all the articles available in the "Beginners" section and i was planning to do the same with the articles in this section but then i noticed that not all of them are available.I want to read all of them starting with the first published 2 or 3 years ago but i don't know how and i will be very grateful if you could help me.
Anyway i want to thank you very much for yours and Daniel articles!!! Thanks to your articles i now understand much better
the game of poker and with your help i hope to become if not a shark maybe at least a crocodile.
PS:Sorry for the long post and for my english mistakes.

Sean Lind 2010-05-03 19:36:21

RMG

Start here:

http://www.pokerlistings.com/strategy/how-not-to-suck-at-poker-play-fewer-hands


after you read that series, you'll have a decent idea of what you'd like to learn more of.

RMG 2010-05-02 23:21:50

How can i read older articles?
I am a beginner and i want to read all the articles for No Limit Hold'em Cash Game Strategy but i don't know how.Can you help me?
PS:Sorry for the off-topic!!!

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