I think the mini bet is something you should have in your arsenal, one that you can use and one that tells
you something about your opponents hand (especially how they react to the mini bet). All these examples are situational and player dependant, but some of the reactions include:
- Third or half size pot bet means player has a decent hand, and wants to gain more knowledge about yours.
- After someone calls your mini bet, how do they react to a half pot bet (with or without a scare card coming up). Many will think it is a bluff
- At the river, a mini bet (continuation) can also mean that you want to induce a bluff (steal) or that you haven't improved on your middle pair.
I also use the mini bet but mix it up with draw hands, hitting middle pair and when I think I have the best hand. Since 2 out of 3 times I am behind (but my opponent won't know if this is one of those times), then I can often keep the bet amounts down and afford to stay in the hand.