Next time you’re in a sit down poker game and you find yourself starring at the pot that made up of plenty of your money, maybe you’ve got 2 pair or three of a kind and while it’s a pretty, pretty hand someone else at the table has been matching you bet for bet without a waiver of thought. At this point there might be an angel on your shoulder telling you that this guy has got something hotter than you, and deep down you know it. This is the time to nut up and fold like the big man that you are (this applies to you lady poker players to). But, there’s another voice in your head, the devil on your other shoulder tempts you like something from the Old Testament. The river ain’t out yet, the game’s still throbbing alive. There’s a beat and a pulse, maybe the voice tells you you’re about get lucky, maybe he doesn’t need to and just points out how much money of yours is in that pot and while you MIGHT lose it if you stay in, you definitely WILL lose it if you fold before the river.
What is a boy to do?
Fold. And fold with good grace, unless you think you’re going to win that hand, and if so get your game face back on and start rising. You are simply in a “fish or cut bait” moment and in your heart of hearts you know the right thing to do; question is you smart enough to do the right thing, if you think you’re beat you probably are.
The fact of the matter is that weather you’re playing in the WSOP, the WCOOP, a little online poker game or down your local, you should be tough enough to know when to stop throwing good money after bad. Everything me you drop more money of a foolish river bet you’re not paying into the royal bank of poker luck, you are just losing money, worse than that you’re giving money to someone to use against you. Don’t go and arm your opponents unnecessarily.
Rising early (or on a blind), before the flop is a perfectly acceptable poker strategy, you can decide whether to play or not if someone else raises and you’ve only committed a small amount to the pot and not raising leaves open the possibility that a dude at the table might play with any cards. But you have to remember that later in the hand, when the pot has enlarged and you can see the flop you should be able to make a fair stab out your chances of making a good hand. If the hand is good enough and you think you’re going to be the winner that step up and bet up, if not…this isn’t the time to go fishing in the river. Similarly and at the risk of labouring the use of the “river” as a metaphor, you’ve left it too late to test the waters when you’re at the river.
There are obviously times when one should raise on the river but that’s for another article.