NL HU Cash tip #3
What does your opponent do, and how should you react, the river (PART 1)
So you have now decided to play and you picked an opponent and a buy-in amount you are comfortable with. It is time to play. What should you be thinking about? Well, you should be trying to figure out everything you can about your opponent. What hands is he raising with, what does he limp with? Does he tend to bet big with flopped trips/sets or slowplay? Does he value bet 3rd pair on the river, or does he check down? Does he tilt easily? Does he overbet a monster on the river?
We will work backwards and today talk about your opponent’s river tendencies, and what you should do.
In part 1 of river play, we talk about two topics, the river overbet and the river check raise.
1) The river overbet: Be very, very careful before calling. Most river overbets are done when someone has the nuts. Not the 2nd nuts, not a good 2nd best hand, not a value bet, but the nuts. This statement is more likely to be true if: 1) your opponent is multi-tabling HU, 2) your opponent has a full buyin, and/or 3) you think your opponent is good. Many players use reverse psychology to think big bets means “he really wants me to fold here”, I should call. That is why the river overbet is used on occasion, and is probably a decent move to have in one’s arsenal.
A river overbet is less likely to be a monster hand (although probability still might be greater than 50%) if 1) your opponent is weak and 2) your opponent is playing a smaller buyin.
2) The river ch-raise: Most weak players don’t have this in their arsenal. Most players at the limits I play usually only do it for value, although I have run into a river bluff ch-raise on a few rare occasions. When is a river ch-raise not likely to be a monster? It is more likely if your opponent is tilting. It is less likely if your opponent is not tilting and perceives you as tilting or someone who is very tough to shake off hands.
The next post in this series will discuss what to do when your opponent value bets the river with very marginal holdings.