Betting in the river
The river is a very special street. In the river all the hands are made, there aren´t any chances of improving a hand. And that´s why on this round of betting there are just value bets or bluffs. The strategies of betting on this street varies of the ones in earlier streets. I want to share my ideas of betting on the river on particular situations, and i hope you do the same (give your ideas on the same situations i´m going to say or add another situations):
1.- Betting with medium strenght hands with just 1 opponent left: When you hold a medium strenght hand, NEVER bet. Why? It´s very simple. If you bet and your opponent holds a weaker hand, he´s going to fold. But if you check instead of betting, you´re going to beat him anyway in the showdown.
If you bet and your opponent holds a stronger hand than yours, he´s going to call or raise, so in any case you´re going to lose money. But if you check instead of betting, he´s going to bet and you just have to fold without losing any chips.
Of course if your opponent holds a weaker hand than yours and you check, you´re allowing him to try to steal the pot, and there is where you have to know if he´s making a value bet or just bluffing. And that strategie also may change depending on the position, so that "NEVER" is a bit modifiable, but take it as a general rule.
2.- Betting with medium strenght hands in a multi-way pot: lets say there are 3 players in the pot (you and other 2). In the flop and the turn you made some bets with top trips top kicker and the two players called down to the river. You realize that in the flop there were 2 consecutive cards and in the river the straight possibility is completed, so maybe one of the 2 players where chasing it and they caught it. That straight possibility makes your hand a medium-strenght one. What should you do? There are different cases depending on the position:
a) You´re first to act: In my opinion you should check. Why? Because of the same reasons of the first situation.
b) You´re second to act and the first player bets: Obviously it depends on the bet, but if it´s a normal bet i think you should call. Since you made bets on earlier streets, you invested too much money to lay down your trips. If you call, maybe the player next to you will also call. Your hand will beat anything except the straight, so if you call and the other player calls, it´s good. But if you call and the next player raises, you have to worry about the straight.
But the point is not raising. If you raise, the players that don´t have the straight will fold, so you may lose one caller that you wanted to call. And also there exists the risk of the reraise. In that case you probably have to fold losing some chips.
c) You´re second to act and the first player checks: Also check for the same reasons of situation 1. You can also bet to test the water but i recommend to check.
d) You´re last to act, the first player bets and the second folds: Depends on your read on him and the size of the pot, but i think you should call or maybe fold.
e) You´re last to act, the first player bets and the second calls: Is the same as the "You´re second to act and the first player bets" situation.
f) You´re last to act, both players check: Check, for the same reason of situation 1, unless you know that if bet you will get a stupid caller with something low like pair.
3.- Betting with the nuts made on a river draw (straight or flush) against 1 player: There are just two different cases depending on the position.
a) You have position: It obvious. Bet and raise. You have the nuts and you need to get as more chips as you can.
b) You´re out of position: You have two options, check-raise or bet.
b.1) Check-raise: when you should check raise? I think the biggest factor is the opponent´s style. If he´s aggressive, go for the check-raise. Your opponent may bluff representing the flush, which he doesn´t know you hit because of your check.
b.2) Bet: If your opponent is passive, bet. Probably you will obtain the same as if you check there, but if you bet and he folds you can know if that player get scared when there is an obvious draw, so you can take that in advantage and bluff in future rivers.
p.s: Of course i know that every situation i mentioned may change depending of lots of factors. There is a lot information that you may need in order to make a decision, but i cannot give all the different factors of every different situation. I know poker is a game of situations, so all the strategies that i gave are general ones.
p.s.2: Please tell me if you don´t agree with any of my strategies. It´s better if you don´t agree than if you agree, because in that way i can learn from more experienced players. But if you don´t agree, please tell your point of view of what you think is the best strategie.
p.s.3: Today is Chile
´s National day. Because of that i have 1 week vacation, so i´ll be more active here the next week.