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Determining the size of a river bet

    • ruastinraata
      Joined: 25.01.2015 Posts: 55
      Hello all,

      The title tells what I would like to learn from this topic. In order to give some kind of a frame for the discussion, I am currently playing NL4 at Unibet. Considering the overall toughness of the game in these levels, I think I am somewhat comfortable with my play on the preflop and on the flop and not totally hopeless on the turn, but sincerely, I do not have a clue how play the final street.

      To be more accurate, I would like to learn about betting on the river. I really think I am missing lots of value when I struggle with the river bet sizing. Since Unibet does not allow the use of any kind of a tracking software, I don't have stats for you to judge, but anyway I am hoping to get rough guidelines, or not even guidelines but just the things to consider when sizing the river bet.

      I know the poker is game of different situations and it is impossible for you to tell what to do and when, but I'll just give some examples. One situation is that where I have certainly, or at least almost certainly the best hand. For example, my (nut) flush draw has completed, or I have a set on a dry board, a full house or something like that. If the stack sizes on the river are less than the size of a pot I usually just go all-in, but if the stacks are deeper than the pot, I have difficult times. Sometimes I bet very big and hope the opponent has something, sometimes I make a bet ridiculously small (less than one thirds of a pot) in hopes to get value.

      The overall skill level of NL4 at Unibet is very weak, but with the great weakness comes great difficulty to read hands (well, I know I suck at hand reading), because there is a decent number of players who can call the three first streets without blinking an eye just with queen high and fold to river bet, no matter the sizing. If I have some "medium holdings", let's say two pairs or top pair with top kicker, the situations where I can be ahead but also behind, the same trouble of sizing appears. Suddenly I become afraid that the opponent is trying to trap me and I just check back or (when out of position) check to control the pot. So I would like to know also, what to think when you have decent hand but there are possibilities for some better hands. If I have a low pair with some overcards on the board and the pot is small (had it been bigger, I would probably have folded already), I just check all the way down, because I actually might have the best hand. This is a kind of a situation where no worse hand can call but a better one probably will.

      The third case would be bluffing when you are (almost certainly) behind. I am interested in these things also, but I don't really do very much bluffing when I don't have the change to improve my hand and this certainly is the case on the river. I could do more, but at micros there are lots of players who play so unpredictably that I am too chicken to make big river bluffs.

      To summarize, I would like to read about the things to pay attention to when considering the river size bet, especially when betting for value. Every answer is appreciated.

  • 1 reply
    • SDK1987
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 37,440
      I’m no cash game player, but I would newer bluff on the river against players that don’t like to fold. I expect that’s the case on NL4. So you need to make thin value bets against those players.

      It’s I think not to easy to give you good info about what kind of standard river sizing, because it depends a lot what the board structure is and how deep you and the villain is playing.

      Hopefully this helps a little bit and you get know maybe now also faster feedback, because I have answered in your thread now.

      Best regards,