RIVER: Playing the river in texas hold em poker.
Sometimes the best move a participant can make on the river is to collapse. Often this is not an easy move to make. Some of the questions that should be analyzed are as follows: What are the chances of you having the best hand if it comes to a showdown? What are the stakes chances? Have you been the bettor or the caller up to this point? How much of you played with the opponent(s) up to this point? How much will you play with the oppenent(s) in the future? Are there any visible tells? Are you in a tournament or a regular game?
These and other questions are not mutually exclusive. The decision to back out on playing the river in texas hold em poker can require a great amount of discipline. Suppose the pot had $30 before the river and it is now down to just you and one opponent on the river. Your opponent is on your right so he makes the first move. He gambles $10 bringing the pot total to $40.
The stakes chances here are straightforward. In other words you are risking $10 to win $40 so your chances are four to one. Suppose you are an experienced participant and you have analyzed the questions above as well as other factors to determine that the opponent is a 60% fave to win if there is a showdown. If your analysis is correct that the are a half a dozen to 4 underdog then the correct move is to call. This can be seen more clearly by supposing that the above scenario happens 10 times. If you call all 10 times suppose you win 4 of them and lose half a dozen. You get $40*4 or $160 for your 4 wins and you lose $10*6 or $60 for your losses so you end up being up $100 not counting what happened before the river. If you throw it in all 10 times then you end up being up $0 not counting what happened before the river.
The decision playing the river in texas hold em poker
would be more tricky if your chances of winning the showdown were only 20% because then you would be comparing 4 to one versus eight to two and you could go either way. In other words if the scenario occurs 10 times then you could win two times and lose eight times. You get $40*2 or $80 for the two wins and you lose $10*8 or $80 for the losses so you end up being up $0 not counting what happened before the river. If you give it up all 10 times then you end up being up $0 not counting what happened before the river.
Suppose you know your chances of winning the river in texas hold em poker are only 10%. In this case you are comparing pot odds of 4 to 1 versus winning odds of 9 to 1 so you should most likely give it up. Again this is easier to see if we use the same scenario 10 times. If you win 1 of the 10 times and lose the other nine then you get $40*1 or $40 for your win and you lose $10*9 or $90 on your losing hands. This means you end up being down $50 not counting what happened before the river.
The important thing to remember playing the river in texas hold em poker is that it is important to compare pot chances to your chances of winning the showdown. In this case pot odds are easy to see but knowing the correct chances of winning the showdown are more hard to calculate. However, with experience it becomes easier to more accurately know your chances of winning the river in texas hold em poker.
Some participants can't see the big picture and are unable to lay rounds down on the river in texas hold em poker. For example suppose the board had 10,J,Q of hearts and you have 8,9 of hearts. You have a straight flush. If there is an 80% chance that your opponent has K,A of hearts and the pot chances are not good then you should quit. In other words if the pre-river stakes had $20 and the opponent is on your right and he gambles $10 on the river and you know he cannot be bluffed then it is potentially best to collapse. Some punter cannot do this. Some punters cannot back out premium hands like straight flushes even when the math tells them to do so. If the pots odds were good enough and your 60% assessment was accurate then you may need to rethink your decision for the long run.
The bottom line is that folding on the river is not an easy play to make. However, good punters do it on a regular basis and it is important to recognize when it is necessary.