What To Do On The Worst River Card?

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In this $1/$2 hand hero gets a free-play from the blinds and has to figure out what the best play is on one of the worst river cards. Getting counterfeited on the turn/river always sucks – but we still need to make a decision and this video will help you choose the best line in these spots.

Our Hero, Fundiver , has 43. There are a bunch of limpers to us and we decided knock our option. Totally standard so far. This is very, very common of course when you’re playing live poker that you’re going to get a bunch of limpers like this. This is a very, very common situation.

And Fundiver said in his write-up that he didn’t exactly remember stack sizes, so he just gave everyone on average 100 big blinds just to make it easier to illustrate the point.

There’s a check. We decide to bet. And in this kind of situation, there’s so many different options that you have. One of course is to just fire it out, go forward from there. Number two is to look for a check-raise opportunity. And, oftentimes, in live games, I’m looking for a check-raise opportunity because it’s one of those where I think if there’s a bet, there’s going to be a cascade of callers. And I can check-raise nice and large, get a nice, big pot brewing and really punish someone who’s going to get sticky with AX or 45 or any of those kind of hands.

Now, if this is the kind of table where if you check-raise, no one is every going to give you action with anything other than two pair plus. Obviously, that’s something to definitely consider. But in most $1-$2 games, I’m thinking that that’s going to be the case. You can punish people who get too sticky with AX.

And if you are going to go the betting route – and the betting route isn’t terrible, there are plenty of tables where I do bet things like this – then I’m definitely going to bet on the larger side of the spectrum and probably just pot it or at least bet $10 and go from there.

I think going only half pot is going to give people really good prices. Most everyone has position on you, and, yeah, you have a great hand and, yeah, you can start generating some value, but the lower and lower your two pair is, the more and more you have to worry about counterfeiting. Like I alluded to in the intro, there’s going to be a counterfeit situation here, but this is definitely something that you want to be keeping in mind. So if you can punish more now, if they’re going to be sticky with AX now, then bet larger now, something like $10 or $12 or even $15 obviously. In a lot of $1-$2 games, that’s a number that I’ll choose just because it’s easy. It’s three red chips and I just go forward from there.

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This is kind of the way I would approach this situation. I think betting the half pot is leaving money on the table in most spots. So end of getting a call, end up going heads-up to it, and hero decides to continue betting. And, again, I think the bet is too small. If the whole goal is to make sure that we punish him when he has something like AX, then let’s make sure to do that for nice, large size.

I would go here for $20 instead of just $14, but here we go nonetheless, get called. And, we, of course, face that counterfeit on the river and now we have to decide what we want to do. Our decision on the river here is fully based upon the range of hands we’ve been assigning all the way through for seat 3. What range of hands did they open limp under the gun, caller flop that with, caller turn bet with, and get to the river with?

And in a situation like this, there’s kind of two major ways I would build a range in this spot. Either seat 3 is very, very AX heavy, so they limp preflop maybe with something like A5 or something like A8s, whatever it is, got cally on the flop, cally on the turn, and here they are. And then I ask myself would they ever fold AX if I decided to bet here? Yes or no? And in a lot of $1-$2 live games, I’m going to assume that that is no.

If someone’s going to be bad enough to open limp A8s from under the gun, I typically don’t assume that that same person is going to have really any fold button post-flop when they still have that top pair. If that’s the case, keep that in mind. Or you could say, “Okay, well, this is the kind of person who could have got to the river with things like maybe 45, 56, maybe 77, any of that kind of stuff. And maybe this is the kind of person who there is some fold equity with and I could actually just turn my hand into a bluff and go from there.”

Keep that in mind as well. This isn’t just like, “Oh, no, I got counterfeited, so I have to check-fold.” Or, “I got counterfeited, so I have to instantly fold if they bet into me.” There are other ways out of pots, but you have to be really good with your hand reading all the way through to find holes in their range where you can exploit them and get aggressive and fight for the pot and get then to fold and, again, when to turn your hand into a bluff.

Now, this really boils back to the fact that we’re playing live $1-$2, or assume this is live $1-$2, and because of that, I’m assuming this is the spot where there’s probably not going to be a tremendous amount of fold equity. I think if seat 3 did call the flop and the turn, you’re looking at more like AX and 56. And if it’s 56, I think it’s 56s, and there’s only four combinations of 56s. I’m not really super-worried about that. There’s just a lot of AX, and I don’t think AX goes anywhere here. Whether we bet or even if we check-raise, I’m not 100% sure that AX goes anywhere.

They might just talk themselves into calling because “LOL, I have two pair.” That’s the way a lot of these live $1-$2 players think. So because of that, I don’t think there’s many other options other than just hating life, going for a check-fold, and getting out of it.

But, again, I don’t want you to just always check-fold every single time you get counterfeited, but, remember, counterfeiting is going to happen more and more often the more and more you have the lowest two pairs. But always make sure you’re at least considering what are my other options? What range do they realistically have? Are there any holes in that range that I can exploit? Or are they just going to be inelastic, showing up with a lot of top pair, and showing up with stuff that unfortunately, I’m just not going to win against, so I just have to hate life and check-fold?

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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