Post Flop Strategy – The River Card

At this stage of the game you’ll usually find that that you have company and it’s important to recognise, at least try, as to why they all might be where you are. Its at this point also that the words ‘bad beat syndrome’ come into play where you find that Mr Beginner has called all your bets with bottom pair and then proceeds to hit another pair on the river. Welcome to poker!

In No-Limit Hold’Em things might be a little clearer cut as it’s usually on the flop or the turn that most of the chips have gone into the middle. That’s just the nature of the game. In No-Limit the turn card will make or break a hand whilst the river card is sometimes irrelevant. Either way you need to be in good shape and have at least a better than 25% chance of winning to have gotton this far.

Before you choose to bet try to see all the possible straights, flushes, etc. on the board.

People chasing straight & flush draws will get paid off here but lets make one thing clear. It isn’t worth betting the river if a possible straight or flush has appeared as all you’re doing is to contribute to someone else’s chip stack.

If they missed their draws then they won’t be calling any bets. If they then they’ll be raising. But wait!!! What if EVERYONE missed? Wouldn’t now be a great time to try a bluff?

Bluffing is a concept that we’ll cover soon but for now it’ll usually be the case where everyone will turn over their cards and it’s the best 5 card holding, from the 7 available, that will win. Justice for the winner!!

You should almost always call a bet on the river if you have any reasonable hand at all. It can be a huge mathematical mistake to fold on the river if you are up against one or two opponents. Most of your folding should be before the flop, on the flop and on the turn. If you paid for the turn you should call with any reasonably strong hand. The exception to this is where there are multiple callers to a bet on the flop. Your odds of winning with an average hand go down exponentially the more callers there are.

In NO-LIMIT Hold’em it can be more difficult to call at the end without losing your shirt so be VERY AWARE of your holding and determine just HOW MANY HANDS there are that can beat you.

Holding  how many of the following hands would YOU CALL after the following a 5 card flop and a largish bet by your opponent at the end?

Continue reading this book if you said more than 2 (3 & 6)

Need To Know Block:

  1. Always call a reasonable bet, after the river card, if you feel as though your hand warrants it.
  2. Never BET on the river unless your own hand improved because of it.
  3. Don’t be ashamed of throwing your cards away to a large bet. If you’ve missed your draw then you’ve missed. There’ll be other times when you’ll hit.

Next week’s article is called "Playing for a flush"