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|Betting on the river in a limit game|
Everyone knows how to make a value bet or a bluff bet. But there is another reason to bet on the river that many players overlook..
The mental process by which a player decides if and how much to bet on the river is indicative of his ability to make choices in difficult situations. As you move from the lower limits to the average, it is normal to meet increasingly complex situations post-flop. In The Theory of Poker there are discussions about the reasons why a player may decide to bet on the river.
The two reasons the "classic" to point the river is because you have a point in hand (value bet) or because you want to take home the pot as a bluff (bluff bet).
When we make a value bet, we hope that the opponent come to see us. More precisely, consider making a value bet means to have a better hand than the opponent at least 50% of cases in which they can make the call.
Instead by making a bluff bet, we hope that the opponent folds. We do not believe that our hand is the strongest in the game, but we estimate that the opponent will fold a better hand often enough to make the episode the most convenient choice.
There is another case where you should bet on the river. Not because you want your opponent to follow you or why you think it will fold a better hand than yours, but only because it is the best play against the other options. This means, for example, against an aggressive player will prefer to bet on the river, rather than check and subject to his bet. But the concept can be applied to other situations post-flop.
In the specific situation that we face here, will almost always be in place all these four conditions:
1. you're out of position against at least one of the opponents in the hand (usually the aggressor)
2. Your hand is often good enough to warrant a call from a bet
3. Opponents with a worse hand will call more often, rather than pointing
4. You can safely fold to a raise.
Here's an example.
You are in late position and you have( A-J) of suite. You make a raise against a player who limped in early position. The button made the call, the flop opens an (A-Q-10), and three players still in the game. You bet, raise and the button does the limp call. Even you do call. The turn is an (8) . Both you and the player who limped check-calls on the bet done by the player on the button. The river is J, the limper checks. Here you have to bet. Probably, your hand will not be the best at least 50% of the time that you will be seen. However, in this case, the bet is still the best among the possible options. Carrying a worse two pair (AT, QJ, and QT is reasonably possible hands here), especially in low limit games, here most of the players will call your bet, instead if you check , probably the opponent would check as well. As to fold on the river on a single episode would be a mistake (in fact, here you should probably follow with a call even if the button raised and the limper see), your only options are:
• check and then call on any bet
• head straight and fold if raised.
Betting is an option clearly better than check-call, since there are many possible worse hands that will call your bet, but would check if you left him the chance. Based on the fact that if there is a raise you can simply fold, the decision to bet on the river carries the risk of one big bet. (It 's very rare to see someone doing a bluff raise on the river in similar situations, especially against a player who has no hand in the role of aggressor).
In this example, it is not consider the case where the button will bet on the river trying to make a bluff, which would give you a reason to check-in call rather than bet first. However, by how you played the game, it is very unlikely that the button is pressing ahead with a hand in a semi-bluff on the river which has not improved his combination in any way.
This general concept, simply because it is the best bet among the possible options, it can also be applied to other situations, such as when you decide to bet in a semi-bluff on the turn, just because it's clearly a better deal to pay a bet check-call. This type of situation does not occur so often and in fact the difference between the check-called and the bet is rather thin. However, getting used to analyze a hand like that in a complete and consistent can be of great help in many other situations post-flop unusual or complex. Also, keep in mind that, since the average limit tables, a solid post-flop play, is a necessary condition to make a profit consistently and safely