Playing the PokerStars River
It is ironic that most hands in poker never make it to the river and even fewer still actually end up with a showdown at the river. Getting to the river in a hand of poker means that either
A. Some players at the table have made some pretty terrible mistakes which is most often the case or,
B. There are some very evenly matched hands and players sitting across from each other.
Finding yourself playing the river can be very exciting and, even though it is the end of the hand, making mistakes on the river can be extremely costly for your bottom line. The great thing about the river is that nothing is going to change. The hands are as good, or bad, as they are going to be, no more cards are going to be dealt, and all that you need to figure out is whether you have a better hand than your opponent does. Simple, right? It is, actually, as long as you have been paying attention to what has been happening on the previous rounds of betting. If you have been paying attention, you should have a decent idea of where your opponent stands in relation to your hand.
One problem that many players have when they get to the river is that even if they know that they are beat, they do not want to fold. I can appreciate the temptation of not wanting to fold and you sometimes see pros sit there on television and say, “I know you have me beat and I’m going to pay you off but I just want to see your hand.” They call, they lose, and everything unfolds exactly how they knew it would before they saw the cards. Being able to fold your hand on the river is a sign that you are growing as a poker player and are able to make tough decisions.
If, however, you are a poker pro, and you are the one who is going to win the hand, you should do everything you can to try to get your opponent to do exactly what he should not do – call with a losing hand. To make your opponent call with a hand that is inferior to yours, poker players should either make a bet that is less than what would normally be made with the hand or, players should make a bet that is larger than what they would normally bet can accomplish this goal. It may seem odd to bet more than you would but players can sense weakness in what is called over betting and, while it is not as common as getting paid off on a smaller bet, it can happen with an over bet.
Being able to play the river and know when you should fold will help to save you a lot of chips because calling on the river when you should not is a very costly mistake. Additionally, being able to make your opponent make just such a mistake will net you a lot a chips in the end.
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