Bluffing on the River

When it comes to betting on the river, this might be the most intense part of poker there is.  After all, two or more players have put a significant amount of money into the pot (assuming limping hasn’t been taking place the whole time) and none of them want to fold or lose to another player this far in.

But as conventional Hold’em wisdom goes, you don’t want to blow any more chips than you have to even if that means folding on the river.  Holding third best pairs or having your draw hopes dashed are usually signs that it’s time to get out of a hand on the river. 

However, the possibility of getting a player to fold on the river still exists if done right.  Now it’s tough to do because a lot of players don’t want to throw away anything if they think that they even have a shot with what they’re holding.  That’s why you’ll need some help from the board to pull this off.

Here’s an example of a river bluff that I recently pulled off.  I was in a $3/$6 game and was holding Js-9s.  Three other players limped into the flop and it came up 5s-3h-8s.  Hoping for the flush I bet out and one of the players raised.  The other two players folded and I called. 

The turn came up 2d and I checked as did my opponent.  The river came up 8h and so, wanting to represent trips, I bet out since my opponent had checked on the turn showing that they probably didn’t have a made hand yet.  With the board as weak as it was and me betting out after the 8 was shown, my opponent decided to fold rather than call.  Thus, my river bet had stolen a pot that I had no business getting. 

 

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