Most of the money won in live no limit games is through maximizing value with the best hand. If you watch world-class players they are constantly dragging in huge pots with their nutty hands. An important skill that you should learn in order to improve your game is betting large with a big hand when you know that your opponent also has a strong, second best hand.
One of the best examples of this is when you flop something big on an ace high, broadway board and the ace smacks your opponents’ range. Let us look at an example. Say in a $5-$5 game an under the gun player makes it $25, two people call and you close the action by calling with J♥ T♥ on the button. The board comes put A♠ K♥ Q♠ giving you the nut straight. The under the gun player comes out and bets $90 into the $100 pot. The action folds back around to you. Let us say that you and the under the gun raiser are $1300 effective. What should we be thinking here?
Obviously, yes we have flopped the nuts and that is a very exciting but what we should really be thinking about is what are opponent has. First, he raised to $25 under the gun, which usually represents a strong hand. Second and most importantly he has bet close to pot into three other people. Unless the guy is a total maniac he is not making a continuation bet here with something like 7♣ 6♣. This board and his action absolutely smacks his range and even though a small portion of the time he may have AT or AJ (we have blockers to these hands as well) his most likely holdings are AK, AQ, AA, KK or QQ. His large bet sizing indicated that he is trying to protect against the draws and possibly get value from some second best hands. Knowing this what is out best play with these stack sizes? It is almost always to raise. No one at the $5-$5 level is going to fold AK on the flop and probably not even AQ so it is best to start building the pot up against his probable second best hand. Your opponent will most likely call the raise on the flop followed by a bet on the turn and depending on the board you have a good chance to stack him by the river.
Even when you flop a hand as big as quads or a straight flush you should always be thinking about what your opponent has and if he is calling large flop bets you can be fairly certain that he has a large hand or large draw. Squeeze out the most value that you possibly can.