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Old 12-26-2005, 06:43 AM
soah soah is offline
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Default River betting

A while ago I read a post in HSNL with regards to overbets that has caused me to do some thinking.

I rarely overbet and often there are situations on the river where the pot will be like $240 and I'll have $300 left and I'm first to act. My typical action in these spots is to either check, or bet $100-180 (depending on the exact circumstances). However, the post that I read has caused me to believe that the only two plays here should be to check, or move all-in.

The reason behind this is that when we bet this river we usually have a fairly strong hand, but probably not the nuts. If our opponent moves all-in after we value bet, then we are getting something absurd like 5:1 to look him up. In a lot of these situations we must call due to the pot odds because our opponent will be value-raising something that beats us more than 20% of the time. However, we still expect to lose much of the time here. On the other hand, if our opponent just calls, then it's more likely that we win the pot. Hence, more money is going in the pot on average when we lose than when we win.

Sometimes of course we will have the nuts, or we'll have a busted hand. In those cases a push will get called less often than a smaller bet, but the times we do get called, more money goes in the pot, so the EV should remain similar in both cases (provided that your opponent is somewhat aware of our betting style... if he thinks an overbet is always the nuts then our EV of overbetting the nuts goes way down, but bluffing looks a lot better).

By eliminating the chance for our opponent to raise, we are eliminating the possibility of facing a tough decision, and instead we're putting all of the decision on our opponent. If we do a reasonable job of balancing our hand range, then we have game theory on our side and there is nothing our opponent can do to prevent himself from making mistakes.

Disclaimer 1 It's worth noting that this strategy eliminates the ability to make blocking bets. However, I'm not sure that this is actually all that bad for us -- as you move up in stakes, you will find more players that are willing to raise weak bets as a bluff. In order to prevent this from happening too much, your blocking bets will have to be fairly large (at least half pot, IMO), and if you only have a hand like TPTK you are very unlikely to get called by a worse hand in a big pot by a decent player. Some possible alternatives would be to adjust your play on previous streets to avoid this scenario, to check and induce a bluff, or to go ahead and push (if you were willing to invest a considerable amount of your stack as a blocking bet, it may be worth it to invest slightly more if it will get quite a few better hands to fold? Depends a lot on the board and your image, but I'm just throwing out ideas.)

Disclaimer 2 And of course, this doesn't apply to very weak players who can't really read hands, but can read bet sizes... against them you just bet small when you want a call and bet big when you don't.

Disclaimer 3 I haven't played much the last few weeks so I haven't had much chance to experiment with this so maybe some of my thinking is way off in some parts of my rant... but I suspect that incorporating at least part of this will be a big step in improving my game.

Disclaimer 4 Since I'm really smart, I'm posting this thread mere hours before leaving town (I should be sleeping now?) So I won't actually be able to respond to any feedback here for a couple of days.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2005, 10:19 AM
BobboFitos BobboFitos is offline
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Default Re: River betting

[ QUOTE ]

By eliminating the chance for our opponent to raise, we are eliminating the possibility of facing a tough decision, and instead we're putting all of the decision on our opponent.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmm.
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Old 12-26-2005, 02:52 PM
xorbie xorbie is offline
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Default Re: River betting

As usual, very nice post soah. I've been thinking about something similiar myself, so I'll try to respond to this at some point from a theory standpoint.
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Old 12-26-2005, 03:02 PM
-Skeme- -Skeme- is offline
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Default Re: River betting

I overbet with the nuts or close to it all the time. I've done it like 3-4 times that I can remember for decent pots with nothing. Showed them all. Made notes on the players I did this to, will hope for situations where I can jam with the nuts against them.
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Old 12-26-2005, 03:36 PM
Rotating Rabbit Rotating Rabbit is offline
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Default Re: River betting

Nice post.

My initial thought is: imo your argument is sound IF villian is either going to go all in (either call or raise), or fold.

However, you didnt mention the liklihood of respective events. In order to get the disgusting 5-1 odds situation we have to have 1) believe we had the best hand on river to value bet 100-180 2) opponent believes he has reraise value. This isnt going to happen often. It may seem that it does because those are the hands we remember, but most of the time its an ordinary bet/fold bet/call or check/check.

Lets take an example hand I just made up. Hero has 420 and villian has him covered. 2/4 nl say.

Hero is UTG+1 with K[img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img] K[img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img]

Hero raises to 16, button calls, all fold.

Flop J[img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img] 5[img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img] 4[img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img] (pot = 38)

Hero bets 30, villian calls.

Turn comes 6[img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img] (pot = 98)

Hero bets 70, Villian calls 70.

River comes 4[img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img] (pot = 240, hero has 300, villian covers)

Hero's move?

...this isnt so easy because with all the draws that missed on the flop (or became draws on the turn), we could check/call. But on this soft&cuddely river villian probably gives up here with a busted draw unless we're known for firing 2 barrels a lot lately. Depends on the villian. A lot of the time I'd bet this river, and how much would depend on villian, and the texture of my conflict with him.

But I dont think a bet of 300 on this river is going to get looked up unless your image is something special. Your conjectures therefore suggest a check here, but I dont think its optimal unless ur opponent is the right sort.

Then again, maybe my mistake is to take this in isolation, maybe its good to give up EV in this hand to gain f/e on later hands.

Interesting thoughts though I'd like to hear more.

Maybe the lesson from this is, think about river stack sizes before you make a defining turn bet.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2005, 05:23 PM
-Skeme- -Skeme- is offline
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Default Re: River betting

[ QUOTE ]
Hero's move?

[/ QUOTE ]

Depending on opponent, I either check or bet weak enough that he still thinks he has FE by pushing with a busted draw and big enough that he can call it with his AJ. If it's a fish, I just jam. If it's a LAG player, I'd bet like $100-$120 and call a push since every reasonable draw missed. I'd expect a set to raise somewhere in there. If it's a decent player, probably check-call.
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