Our last lesson in this course appropriately focuses on a common mistake that happens at the end of the hand.

Most low-stakes players leave a ton of value on the table, so to speak, with their overly passive river play.

The primary manifestation of this mistake is checking back on the river with hands that are more than strong enough to bet for value.

A common remark from players making this error is “oh, he wasn’t going to call anyway”. How can you be so confident? If there is one thing to be sure about in live low-stakes games, it is that people love to call.

  • Why are you suddenly ignoring this obvious exploit on the river, and letting them off the hook?

Many players seem to have an irrational fear of betting on the river, when they know that checking is sure to end the hand. They are so eager to get to showdown, and not interested in getting any more value from their hand.

What they fail to realize is that for the most part, people play fairly straightforward on the river in these games. Furthermore, check-raise bluffs are incredibly rare.

  • Combine that with people’s overall propensity to call, and we should be looking for more thin value on the river, not less.

Even if you do get raised on the river, we need to focus on the fact that this should not scare you.

  • It’s perfectly understandable that being put in difficult spots at the poker table is uncomfortable…
  • But that’s the beauty of this situation...in rare occurrences that you do get raised on the river, it isn’t a difficult spot! Just fold!

Low-stakes players are nowhere near balanced in their river raising range. You can simply give them a ton of credit, unless you have strong evidence to suggest otherwise.

Here is a fun experiment that you can play over your next few poker sessions which may help illustrate this mistake...Keep track of these two things:

  • The number of times that you see a bluff-raise on the river
  • The number of times that you see somebody check back the river with a super strong hand

We will bet that the latter far outnumber the former.