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Playing the Player: Going for Value in a NL Cash Game

Playing the Player: Going for Value in a NL Cash Game
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  • @JonathanLittle goes for three streets of value versus a splashy opponent in a $5/$10 NL cash game.

  • Hand analysis: The board gets scarier, but the value bets keep coming in this NL cash game hand.

Today I have another cash game hand to discuss, again from a $5/$10 no-limit hold'em cash game played last summer during the World Series of Poker.

It folded to me on the button where I'd been dealt {A-Spades}{10-Diamonds} and I opened for $30. Those who play live NL cash games know players tend to open-raise varying amounts, sometimes quite big. I discuss that topic briefly in the video, and cover it in greater detail in my newest book, Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em.

It then folded to a very splashy player in the big blind who called. He had about $2,000 behind and I had him covered, so the effective stacks were about 200 big blinds.

The flop came {10-Spades}{5-Hearts}{3-Diamonds} and my opponent checked. With top pair, top kicker, I bet $40 (about two-thirds pot) and the big blind called. The turn brought the {6-Clubs} and another check, and this time I bet $60 or a little less than half the pot (looking back, I might have bet more). Again he called, bringing the pot to $265.

The river was the {4-Diamonds} — not a great card, as it put four to a straight on the board. But when my opponent checked I made a decent-sized bet of $170. Listen to my explanation of why I made such a value bet on this board and how my opponent's splashy style encouraged me to do so.

In some situations and against certain players, you simply have to go for value! How would you have played the river in this hand? Would you have bet or checked behind?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,500,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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