Tip 40
Bet the rive with the best hand

This might seem like an obvious statement, but it is amazing how often hold’em players check the winning hand on the end.  They may think, “the pot is big enough,” “I’d better check just in case someone caught that third four,” or “I doubt anyone will call me, so I may as well check.”

  The problem with this is that the pot is not big enough, that four on the river is probably a safe card, and someone will call.  It is very important that you do not leave money on the table.  You must bet the river when you have the best hand, and collect those extra calls that your curious opponents will bestow upon you.  This is one of the few times in poker in which you can bet and get a call from a poker player who has no chance to beat you.  So, take advantage of the opportunity to bet the river for value.

  When you are first to act, you should bet if you feel you hold the winner, because you are apt to get called by slightly worse hands.  However. If you check, these hands might then check right behind you.  The exception to their checking is those times that they outdraw you, in which case they would bet and you would probably call.  So, those times you hold the winner, you cost yourself a bet or two by checking to your opponents.  However, you still lose a bet those times you are beaten.

Tip 41
Player has bet

To raise for value on the river, you must be fairly certain of a few things.

  First, you should be confident that you hold the best hand.  The problem with raising when you are only 50 percent sure that you have the winner is that some of those times you are wrong your opponent will reraise you.  This will leave you muttering to yourself about what an idiotic raise you just made.  A good guiding principle is not to raise on the river unless your chances of winning are 75 percent or greater. 

  Another important consideration is whether your opponent can call a raise.  There are instances in which you feel your opponent is likely bluffing, but there is a small chance he has a monster hand.  So, even though you might have the requisite 75 percent chance of holding the winner, raising is still a bad idea.  This is because you cannot win an extra bet from your opponent.  He will either fold if he was bluffing, or call or reraise if he has you beat.  There need to be some logical hands that your opponent might bet and then call a raise with and still lose the pot for you to make a raise on the river.  Essentially, he must be capable of calling your raise with a worse hand for raising to be profitable.  If it’s an either or situation, either he is bluffing and cannot call a raise or he has a hand that has you beat (no matter how unlikely that is), raising is not a good idea.

  In a multiway poker pot, you may wish to decline an opportunity to raise for another reason.  Suppose the first player bets, and you are next with a queen high flush. It is probably the best hand, and certainly one worth a raise.  However, if several active players remain behind you, you might make more money if you just call.  Your call might induce one or more other players to call as well, making you more money than had you raised.  Furthermore, if the original bettor does happen to have you beat, your decision just to call doesn’t provide him the opportunity to reraise you.  Thus, you might win as much or more money with your hand by calling, and lose less if you do not hold the winner.