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Checking the River in Poker

If you have reached the river as the aggressor in a Omaha poker event, it is instinctive to fire that third barrel. By this time, you have a polarised range of either air or the top of your range. But, sometimes, you should also slow down and check. 


Let’s examine a spot where this would be applicable:

You open from under the gun with [Kh] [Jh] and the player on the button calls. The flop is [Ks] [6d] [2d], you bet and your opponent calls. The turn is the [7c]. Once again, you bet and, once again, your opponent calls. The river is the [Qc] and now you stop and think.


You should only be firing a third barrel here if you have a really great read on your opponent. If game flow dictates that this player just does not believe you, and has shown a propensity to call in the past, then fire away. But this is going to be the exception and not the norm. 


By the time you have reached the river, analyse your own hand. From your under the gun position, [Kh] [Jh] is at the bottom of your range. So what hands are going to call your value bet? 


There are only a few hands in your opponent’s range. But if you check, your opponent may have had the flush draw and could bet. In this instance, your check-calling or check-folding ranges largely depend on the type of opponent again. 


How has this opponent played flush draws in similar spots in the past for example? Hopefully, you can see that checking the river in this position could be more sensible than betting, depending on the type of opponent you are facing. 

Last Updated on 14 January 2016