One of my most common ‘moves’ during a limit holdem session is to check the river after I’ve been betting every other turn of the cards. I do it mostly when I’m heads up with another opponent and they’ve been cold calling all my bets. For instance, in a hand that just happened at my $1/$2 table online I limped with A7o from the small blind.
The flop came down 3 4 7 and I bet out, one caller. An 8 on the turn completed a flush draw, I bet, he called. A queen on the river made this the board: 3 4 7 8 Q. In lower limits it is hard to put your opponents on hands 100% of the time, and it’s possible he could’ve had an 8 or a Q or even a flush draw, but usually people will raise on the turn when they hit a hand (like the flush that completed there), so I wasn’t too scared of a big hand like that, but more wary of a hand like KQo or QJo.
So what do I do in this situation? I ask myself this question: What is most likely to happen if I bert this river?
– They will fold because they missed their draws
– They will call or raise because they have me beat
of course there is always the chance they will call and lose, but hold on.
The best case scenario for both of these answers is to check. If I have them beat they might either check and I win or try to bluff, I’ll call and win an extra bet that I wouldn’t have won otherwise. If they have me beat I only lose one bet and don’t risk having to call a raise on the river. And if I do have them beat, outkicked or whatnot, they might still value bet it for me.
So with a check on the river I put myself in the position to pick up an extra bet or lose the least if I am beat. And you might be surprised how often a desperate broken draw will bet out on the river where they otherwise would’ve folded to a bet, being passive isn’t always a bad thing.