Texas Hold'em No Limit Advanced

Betting for Protection

8,960 Views 6 Comments on 6/4/12

Betting for protection is important in situations which may not be so clear cut.

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So when do we bet for protection?

This is a cross between  value-betting and bluffing – usually referred to as a type of thin value bet. You bet in a situation where you don’t necessarily expect to get called by worse very often, but your opponent’s range still has a decent amount of equity vs your hand. As a result – your opponent folding is considered a good outcome despite your bet being for “value”.

Protection bets can be considered a type of “merge” bet. Sometimes worse hands will call, but sometimes better hands will fold.

Consider this example:

Effective stacks are 100bb. You are in the CO and open raise to 3bb with 44 . SB calls. BB folds.

The flop is k73. BB checks. Hero bets 4bb into the 7bb pot.

(By betting hero is “protecting” his hand from anything with 2 overcards. Hero does not necessarily expect a call from these hands (although it will happen sometimes) – but he doesn’t want to check back and allow them free chances to hit. Occasionally villain will call with worse like a 3x or an OOP float like AJ, but occasionally he will also fold better. Some villains will muck better pocket pairs and 7x. It’s not really correct to refer to this play as a pure “bluff” however, because hero still expects to have the best hand a decent amount on such a dry board.

Folds from both better/worse hands plus the occasional spot of thin-value make betting here for protection profitable. The bet also makes it less likely hero will get bluffed himself at a later point in the hand.


Jon PokerVIP

10 years and over 10 million hands of cash game poker Jon-PokerVIP brings a wealth of experience to team VIP. If he isn't winning 150k a month prop hands challenges  then he will be probably posting in our forum, streaming on twitch or making coaching con ... Read More


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giantpokeron 28/8/17

Very helpful


FierceProPlayeron 27/5/16

Aha if the situation is slightly unclear, firing a protection bet feels right on! Tks!


Daniloon 18/1/16

how can BB check if he folded preflop :P , but the article is good :)


ricardojvalenzuelaon 27/8/14

John...you can make bet sizing different when betting for value as opposed to betting as a bluff or protection but only against players who aren't aware or taking notes in my opinion



Yes i bet 2-3 bb more for protection than i do for value. Unless i have the nuts then i can bet alot smaller for value.


Jon-PokerVIPon 3/12/13

Really good. Alot of players bet for the reasons for bluffing or value. This gives another aspect to look at. You guys make your sizing different when betting for protection?

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