Bluffing on the river

Friday, January 5, 2018

Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

This is the last of the three articles in my mini-series about exploitative play, and today I want to touch on river bluffs. Surely, it is one of the most powerful weapons, which you could put in your arsenal and I highly recommend taking advantage of that.

You can put even more pressure on your opponents if you are playing tournaments because of ICM poker strategy concepts (Independent Chip Model), but in cash games alike, it works like a charm.

Betting on the last street

While c-betting on the flop and following with your bluffs on the turn is very standard play, people are still struggling to run 3 barrel bluffs and bet the river. Honestly, it is a mistake, and a lot of the time, you would do much better firing that bet, especially if you have some blockers to go along.

While writing this article, I loaded my HM2 to check c-bet success stats, and it was no surprise that river bet success was the highest one, even going over 52%. It means when I barrel all three streets my opponents are folding 52% of the time on the river, and that is huge. What does that tell you? Well, firstly, that you should be betting unbelievably wide as a bluff on the river.

If you are betting full pot size bet, you only need to see 50% folds to make a profit. However, we are not using this sizing all the time. Thus, if you choose to bet just ½ pot size on the river, you only need 33% folds from your opponent, and if you are getting 52% like me, you are just literally printing money.

On top of that, raising river as a bluff can give you even better results. Most of your opponents will not even consider their options when facing a raise and will fold everything apart from the nut type holdings. When pulling the trigger in this spot, always take in consideration the blockers. You want to have a hand, which blocks your opponents most likely strong holdings and do not block possible bluffs.

If you take this information into consideration when making decisions, you will find yourself running successful bluffs much more often that you can imagine.

Texas Poker Store - Nighthawk Poker tableSumming it up

Therefore, you have an excellent risk-reward ratio so do not be afraid to run that big bluff next time you find yourself at the poker tables, and you will see the results.

Send me your thoughts, comments or questions!

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