Doyle Brunson has the nice quote to the effect that there is nothing that matters except how strong your hand is now. Grouping your hand of the moment into various classes, and repeating that at each decision point, can be a useful way of deciding what you should do.
- Effective Nuts: you have a hand that is ahead of every likely holding, and want to mostly bet big when you think your opponent’s range has many hands they will likely call with, and check or bet small when the opponent’s range does not have many premium hands
- Strong Value: You might be up against a stronger hand, but most of the time your opponent’s continuing range will be with a hand worse than yours; you’ll mostly want normal sized bets, again with some checks and smaller bets mixed in when you think your opponent’s range is quite weak
- Thin Value: You might be well in front of your opponent’s range until you bet, at which point you will only have slightly more calls behind you than calls in front of you
- Barely Ahead: It can be hard to decide what to do here, since if you bet, most of your opponent’s calls will be ahead of you; you will still want to make protection bets when your hand is very vulnerable (much of your opponents range has a lot of equity against your holding), but will also want to include a lot of these hands in your checking range to strengthen it
- Weak Showdown Value: You are probably behind, but will still win at showdown if it checks down a fair amount of the time; mostly check/fold with these (though you can also have some rare check raises)
- Weak but High Equity: These are hands that are probably behind, but which might improve to be a very strong hand with future cards. You often want to be very aggressive with these, although there are also spots where just checking or calling can be preferable (where your opponent might be likely to raise all in in response to a bet from you, and your equity at that point won’t be enough for a call)
- Complete Trash: These will mostly be check folds, but unfortunately you will have too much trash, and especially once you are down to only one opponent, you want to pick some of these that block your opponent’s continuation range to use as pure bluffs (bluffs with almost no equity if called).
For the last two categories, when deciding on sizing for bluffs, it is often good to consider what kind of value bets you’d make, and to make bets of sizes that you’d also make with the value parts of your range.