September 19, 2011

Thin Value Spots Poker Props May Overlook

What exactly is a ‘thin value spot’? The thin value spot is an opportunity to fire out a bet (also known as a ‘thin value bet’), usually on the river, that will win you a pot you would otherwise be quite ready to relinquish. Basically, you make a bet outside your normal betting range, knowing that your hand may still be better than that of your opponent. Recognizing such thin value spots is a true mark of the greats. Make no mistake about it: missing such thin value will not kill your win-rate. Taking advantage of it though will add to it, and as a poker prop, making your win-rate as good as possible should always be your top priority.

Let’s look at an example and try to transition the theory into practice.
You’re playing $1/$2 NL Holdem, with $200 in your stack and you find yourself heads-up with an opponent in the BB. You’re holding 10h, Jh and you raise to $6. The guy in the BB decides to mount a defense and he calls. The flop falls 7s, Js, 5c and you fire out another bet, this time an $8 one. Your opponent calls you again, quite probably putting you on a 4-card spade flush. The Qc falls on the turn, creating another flush draw and you bet $30. Your opponent calls you yet again to see the 3h fall on the river. That card right there is the key to your thin value spot. Players like to put their opponents on draws, and that card tells your opponent that none of the flush draws he put you on filled up. He will therefore be willing to call your river bet with just about any kind of junk, junk that your second pair may well top.
The bottom line: despite the fact that it’s indeed quite obvious, the missed flush draw is still one of the best thin value spots you will encounter.

Another decent thin value opportunity arises when the top card on the board pairs. Your opponent – who suspects you may have a top pair – will often rethink the whole idea once the card pairs. After all, what are the odds that one of only two cards remaining in the deck is in your possession? Never underestimate the power of card removal. In such situations, a second pair with a solid kicker or an overpair which is only slightly smaller than the pair on the board, will hide some decent thin value.

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