Don't be scared to value bet the river

It amazes me how often players check strong hands back when last to act on the river in live no limit games. It is as if...

Posted Aug 04, 2014


Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

It amazes me how often players check strong hands back when last to act on the river in live no limit games. It is as if they are only interested in winning what is currently in the pot and do not care about the extra value that they can gain by making an additional bet.

This showdown poker happens so much at the mid stakes because players are scared to “open” the betting round back up. They are not capable of folding if they get raised so to counter this leak they do not bet. They think to themselves “if I bet here and get raised, what would I do?”

This type of thinking is highly illogical and inconsistent because when someone does raise on the river at the lower or mid stakes the frequency of bluffing is so small that they really do not have to worry too much about being moved off of the best hand. Because of this our value bets are almost like freerolls. Well, they are not really freerolls but we can certainly bet extremely thin if when we are called we are good just over 50% of the time. If your opponents ever had a river bluffing frequency we would not be able to value bet as thin because sometimes we would be forced to fold the best hand.

Similar to increasing your steal frequency against tight players this type of thin value betting really separates the top winrates from the mediocre ones. You must train yourself to not be afraid to bet thinly at the end for value and fold to a raise. A lot of recreational player have trouble with this concept because they want to see the showdown and they do not want to even think about the possibility of being bluffed off of a hand. But if you can come to terms with the fact that people bluff very rarely on the river than you will start to see your overall game improve drastically.

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