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How to Overbet For Massive Value

In no-limit hold’em, you have the option to bet as many chips as you want in any betting round. You can make a bet, and put an opponent at a decision for every single chip in front of him. While I feel this is one of the most valuable moves in multi-table tournament poker, in this article I will discuss how to make larger than normal bets in cash games to throw you opponents off, and ultimately land you more profit.

In most cash games, you will find players who make bets that are only a portion of the pot. In most cases, this is your best option to give your opponent good odds to call you with an inferior hand. In most cash games, I usually make bets anywhere from the full size of the pot to 1/4 of the pot depending on the situation, if I am bluffing, or betting for value with a good hand.I will size my bets based on opponents tendencies and a variety of other factors including stack sizes and the action in the hand.

One of the new techniques I have incorporated into my game is the overbet. The overbet is a very effective weapon to extract maximum value on your big hands and to also give the impression to your opponents that you are a complete maniac.

An overbet is a bet that is more than the size of the current pot. Betting more than the pot completely polarizes your hand range. By polarized, I mean there are only two possible hands you usually have when you over bet. Usually an overbet signifies a monster hand or a complete bluff. It doesn’t make sense to over bet with a semi-good hand because your opponent is only going to call your bet if he also has a big hand, or he firmly believes you are bluffing.

I feel the best time for an overbet is on the river. On the river, the hand is completely played out with no more cards to come. Whatever your read was on your opponent during the hand is now completed with the final card and his betting action on the river.

The best time to over bet for value is when a flush or straight draw misses on the river. For example, if you have two diamonds, and two come on the flop, you need one more the flush. When your opponent bets, and you call, he most likely will include a flush draw in your perceived hand range. Sometimes if I want to be extremely trick and risky against solid aggressive opponents, I will flat call with a monster (a set or better) on a flop with a flush draw, hoping the flush doesn’t hit to kill my action.

This move is only good against aggressive opponents who will be the river with nothing if the flush draw misses. If they have a big hand, they will also bet every street. If we are deep stacked (200 big blinds+ to start the hand), I like to over bet with a big hand on the river if I called the flop and turn bet with a monster. When your opponent fires the river, he either has a big hand or thinks you missed your draw. If you shove your entire stack in, your opponent will be completely thrown off guard.

This is not a standard move in cash games, and certainly not with deep stacks. At this point, your opponent will put you on a missed flush draw or a set. He is sometimes inclined to call with any pair if he thinks you are bluffing. If you have pulled this move often and no one has called you, he might be the one to decide to take a stand. When I have been a maniac in a certain cash game, I will use this move with a huge hand to try to induce a crying call from my opponent for a huge pot.

An example of a hand like this is as follows. In a six-max no-limit hold’em cash game $2/5 blinds, I hold 10 10 on the button. The action folds around to the cutoff, a good solid aggressive player who makes it $20 to go. I flat call on the button with a stack of $1500. The blinds fold and we see a flop heads-up. Assume my aggressive opponent has been crushing the table and has $2000 in front of him. The flop comes 10, 5, 2 (with two diamonds, the 5 and 2).

My opponent continuation bets $45 into the pot and I flat call quickly, making it look like I have a draw or a 10.

The turn brings an ace of hearts. My opponents bets $100, and I call quickly again.

The river is a 9 of clubs, my opponents thinks, then bets $275. At this point, I got lucky and the flush draw didn’t hit. I like to take a VERY long time before I commit my entire stack. If I bet all in quick, it looks like I was setting him up to do this.

In a live cash game, I will tank for maybe 2-3 minutes counting chips and looking over at my opponent. I want to make it look like I have a tough decision and I might think he is weak.

After a few minutes of deliberation, I push my remaining stack of $1335 into the middle.

The last thing my opponent would expect is for me to do this. Unless I am playing in a high-stakes match, this move isn’t used that often and is very confusing.

I am hoping my opponent has a monster like 555 or 222. If he has AK, this is also a tough fold. Knowing the flush draw didn’t hit and my fast calls on the flop and turn, I appear extremely weak. The only hands I could have here are 555, 222, 10 10 10, 999, or a complete bluff. If he has 555, or 222, It is extremely hard to fold here. Most players will raise a set on a flush draw flop. They want to protect their hand and want to induce action hoping another flush card doesn’t hit the turn.

If we both had $500 to start the hand, I would definitely raise the flop. I would hope he has an over-pair and donks off his stack to me or just simply folds anything else. This is the standard play, however with big stacks, it makes more sense to try to get lucky and pull a huge move on the river.

This was an actual example of a hand I had at Turningstone Casino in upstate New York. I was lucky my opponent had a monster (a set of fives) and he payed me off on the river after almost 10 minutes of thinking. The fact that he did have a set here is not important. What is important is that I feel he would make the same call with AK, A5, A2, A10, A9 and possibly AQ and AJ.

The bet on the river just seems weird because the standard move would to be to raise a set on the flop as I described before. For this reason and the fact that I got lucky to dodge flush cards, I believe my overbet is going to get called by a wide range of hands, making it EXTREMELY profitable. I raised 267bb on the river. Most cash games you start with 100bb. In theory, I am able to take 2.67 full stacks a large majority of the time if my opponent has the monster, or the suspicion I am bluffing.

This is only one specific situation for a profitable over bet but I feel it describes how to get max value out of a big hand against a good opponent. Good opponents will read you very strong if you raise early in the hand. They will fold their bluffs and maybe even top pair if they are solid.

You can also use the overbet as a bluff. If you do miss your flush draw, and you know your opponent to be tight, you can make the same move and many times, he might even fold 222 and 555 giving you the pot without a hand. I normally wouldn’t call an overbet in my opponents situation with AK or any two pair. I am also probably folding a set as sick as it sounds.

Stack sizes play the biggest part in this hand and when making the decision to over bet. Some players have so much difficulty getting away from a good hand when they haven’t had good cards in a while. I see a lot of players build a stack, and make terrible calls against overbets because they “are playing with house money anyway.” Why not gamble right?

This is why live cash games are so much more profitable than online games. In online games, all the good players use tracking software to see every single statistic of their opponents. I use PokerTracker 3 which shows me every single statistic I could ever need on an opponent. I can see how many times he raises before the flop, how many times he check-raises and how many times he raises the river.

In a live game, you don’t have that luxury. You can watch your opponents all game but in the end, you have to trust your instinct without a large sample size of hands. For this reason, and the fact that you don’t get many hands an hour as you do online, a lot of live opponents will call you down with a good, but inferior hand because they haven’t gotten good cards in a while.

While overbetting is a useful tool, I don’t recommend you try to get tricky until you have a solid grasp of the game. Until you can be profitable playing a tight-aggressive game, you shouldn’t try to get out of line because it might cost you a lot of money.

Once you develop as a tight-aggressive winner, you can employ a more loose-aggressive strategy which I am working on developing. This style requires tremendous hand reading ability and a large bankroll to sustain the crazy swings you will encounter. Playing aggressive can net you large gains, or on unlucky days, it can deplete your bankroll.

Always try to put your opponent on a range of hands and determine if that range of hands will call your overbet a good portion of the time. If you get really unlucky, as in the example before if my opponent had AAA, KKK, you can’t worry about it. As I said before you need to have BANKROLL MANAGEMENT if you want to play loose-aggressive and tricky. While probably the most profitable style, it is the most dangerous. Tread lightly.

More Poker Strategy:

The Poker Trance

Developing a LAG (Loose-Aggressive) Strategy for Maximum Profit

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking the Win at Final Tables

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

How to Play AA For Maximum Profit

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

Additional Strategy, Sports Betting:

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting


About TD
Live Consciously, Expand Your Awareness!

14 Responses to How to Overbet For Massive Value

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. thatpokerguy says:

    Is that what Tom Dwan is doing all the time?

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