Betting before the River

If I have four hearts (2 in hand and 2 on board) after the flop and estimate my odds of getting a fifth heart on the turn or river, and thus a flush, to be around 35% so I bet around 30% of the pot. My fifth card doesn’t come up on the turn but another player bets 25% of the pot before the river. Since my percentage of getting the fifth heart on only the river has dropped down to 18% should I call the villain or fold? If I call am I double betting for the same outcome which is a flush?
Thanks for the help.


Too many variables to consider that are left out. Is it rings or a tourney…if rings what amount of chips is 25% of the pot and are u playing at a table above or below your comfort level as far as your bankroll and how is your b roll mgt. skill level? If its a tourney then how much is your buy in compared to your comfort level with bank and b roll mgt. After u figure that out then it depends on if the board is paired or not and what 2 hearts are u holding along with the 2 on the board compared to what hearts are out there that he could beat u with on a flush What are the flopped cards and turn card excluding the suits. Where are u at in the tourney and what are your stack sizes. Are there 2 other suited cards on the board after the turn where he could possibly fill a flush if he has the other suited pockets. After that info then its easier to determine what percentages of the pot you should bet or call with. It is still hard to justify a bet thats 30% of the pot with an unmade hand or unfilled draw unless you are semi-bluffing a certain hand there. After considering all/most of the above than you should be able to answer your potential call on the river more accurately. There are a few other variables to consider such as how many players are in the hand after the turn? Im assuming you are talking heads up.


Interesting question, @NickinAtlanta. Much of what @floridajetski wrote is relevant to the decision. Here are some additional thoughts:

  • There’s a concept called “implied odds” that can be useful in situations like this. If you bet 30% on the flop, what’s the chance you’ll face bets on the turn & river without making your flush, thus over-committing your equity? On the flip side, you may be facing a 25% bet on the turn when you have just 18% equity, but if you make your flush, will you be able to get incremental value from weaker hands?
  • Is there a chance you have more than just 18% odds on the turn? If the highest card on the board is a jack, and you hold AQs, what’s the chance that both your overcards are “live” and could improve you to the best hand even if you don’t make a flush?
  • Is there a chance that you’re facing a higher flush, poisoning your flush outs?
  • Why merely call? You could turn your hand into a bluff by raising, putting pressure on hands like middle pair, or top pair with a bad kicker. If you get called, then you still have substantial equity to draw out.

The problem still is we dont know the number of players in the hand ( which changes almost everything ) because he said ( ‘’ but another player bet 25% of pot before the river " ) so now im assuming it is not heads up based on that wording. V bet 25% of the pot after Nick bet 35% after the flop so you know he has mid/top pair at a minimum and prob top pair or 2 with that bet after nicks 35%bet. If this is heads up or not on a ring table im deff calling with my draw, if im in a decent sized tourney late in the game, its a deff fold for me, however i wouldnt have bet 35% of pot when i can most likely see the turn betting 1 or 2 BB. Theres just TMI needed to give proper advice. Thats why you really need to post the hands on here to give an accurate response, otherwise its just speculation, inaccurate feedback and a waste of time for all those trying to help. So nick, u need to be much more specific on info we mentioned and we all would be more than glad to help u out :slight_smile:


I’m currently trying to move over to playing more tournaments – primarily by playing 9max sit n go games – but I have and still do play ring games for 5 or 6 months. Obviously, most of my playing experience is in rings up to this point. I do see what both of you mean regarding more info. I don’t have a specific hand I’ve played in mind but this situation comes up fairly often and what I’m really trying to get at is whether in general I should bet again on the river after the turn card fails to give me a flush. I will post an example when this happens to me again but it most likely will be during a ring game.
Thanks so far,

Ya i get what your saying but the answer will still vary based upon many different variables like what was mentioned and which games u are playing, However in general without knowing all that info i would at minimum bet 1 or 2 BB so u have a better chance of him checking with him knowing he is up against something, therefore u have a better chance at seeing the river at the cheapest possible price and a better chance he wont raise you big enough to bet u off the hand ( especially with those percentages and size of the pot ) and now it possibly becomes a fold for you. That is very general but when/if u post a hand then the specifics can be talked about.


Listen, the simple answer is no, you’re not getting the right price and should fold if either of you are all in. If there are chips behind then you consider your opponent and how likely he/she is to pay off a river bet. The more likely this outcome to be the more you should call. All this other mumbo jumbo is for the birds. If a play is +EV we should make it 100%. The only exceptions are 1) if in a tournament with ICM considerations and 2) if there is another option that is has a higher EV than the one being considered. If there are other factors coming into your decisions in these spots i.e. bankroll/ror they are separate issues/leaks that need attention/plugged. Cheers.


That simple answer turned into a non simple answer fast lol, especially for a guy trying to learn or transition over to tourneys from rings. Can u explain what all the other mumbo jumbo is? Im a bit confused on that. There is no simple answer to any given hand without looking at all the variables involved. This is not black jack where everyone has a simple decision to make each hand and not everyone plays on just pure odds, EV, etc. There are too many psychological aspects of the game that many times are more important than odds, positioning, etc. Oh and why does it always go to just the birds? :slight_smile:


The simple answer to the question posed in the OP by @NickinAtlanta is NO. Got it, get it, done.

Everything else you or anyone else has said ITT.


There is one basic fundamental strategy from which all other strategy should be derived. That is as close an approximation as you can get to GTO(game theory optimal). When we discuss strategy in general or within the context of hand histories it should be with this in mind. We can not discuss exploitative play outside of population tendencies without reads or information on reads hero might have. I didn’t see any information in the OP by @NickinAtlanta pertaining to reads or any information on any specific villain/opponent on any specific hand history. What I did see was him asking a question based on odds to which I believe I gave a good answer. I’ll try again. When you’re calling a bet and calling the bet lays you 35% odds on the call you need to have that much equity to make the call or additional implied odds from where you can make up on a later street for the lack of equity on this call. As far as this OP, he bet the flop and got called. Villain led the turn which was a brick for hero. Is he getting the right price to call, the simple answer is NO, not directly. Can he make the call profitably, YES, provided 1)the villain has enough money/chips behind to make up for our current lack of equity AND 2) he is likely to pay off that which we need for the call to be profitable.

If you’d like go over all of these very important psychological aspects i.e. villain tendencies, stack sizes, position, whatever else you want to consider then go ahead and spit out a hypothetical and I’ll give you a different answer.

Ask the birds, maybe they know, if not google is a good resource. :slight_smile: Cheers!


Everyone wants to make this stuff seem like it’s soooooo easy to figure out but really it’s not a simple game and the reason most of the “crushers” are crushing on Replay is because the players here suck, meaning they are the worst players anywhere in the game and they’re pretty easy to beat. I’m in the forums trying to learn by and through conversation with other players trying to do the same. Pardon me if I come off sounding a little harsh at times. Maybe I am ool, maybe this is not the place to be trying to improve as the strategy talk is mostly results oriented and therefore very biased on how to beat free chippers.


I have the same attitude as you, and I’m starting to feel like this isn’t the best place for true strategy talk. Everything is so “feely” and a lot is about reads/perception of opponents rather than stuff that works in the long run.


Yes it is a very difficult game dayman but once u play and learn it for years/decades you really dont need to over complicate the game because it should already be embedded in your thick skull especially having to make every decision in a matter of seconds. At this point it should be much more simple but if you over complicate things like you do than it will remain or get more complicated which shows you are not comfortable with the game yet. Over complicating things is not always a good thing. But to flat out say that the players here suck is very harsh cause most players are here to learn/chat, etc and can play how ever they want and take it for what it is for them here, not to mention its a pure insult to all players on replay regardless of their skill level along with an insult to replay as a whole. Worst players anywhere in the game? hmm ive played at many live casinos many times where the players were betting/playing the same or worse than here. I dont agree with most of your posts because I think you are way to focused on odds,positioning,hole cards etc.etc. trying to impress on words that few know here doesnt help them, just makes u look better…so you think… those traits dont mean that much to many other great players that play the player more than the cards with their other dominating traits/tactics that are as important if not more then odds, and you only think Ring minded when others are talking different stages in tourneys and you cant compare the two at all. If you think you can then you havnt played enough of all game types yet and did well playing them. Well since you say you are a crusher here and say the crushers are crushing because the players here suck then thats not too much to brag about for you. you need to be playing more crushers than just taking all the players that suck chippies. Cheers

You’ve been playing for years/decades, and no doubt about it, you play well. However, the truth of the game is that it’s complicated, so it’s necessary to complicate things to reach the next level, to keep improving. When you play with strong, simple foundations, you can play really well, as is clear in your case, but to get even better, it’s impossible to avoid more complex topics.

I agree, of course its complicated and we all need to keep learning, but no i dont play a dominating simple game. My game is as complicated or more than any player…its just that it is already calculated in my head ( as far as all the pertinent info that i need to make my decision on what i should do in a matter of seconds, which is basically all we have on the clock. If im sitting live i can sit there and ponder for a minute or more. S as to what u said, u cant play great poker here in any sort if u dont have everything u need to make an informed decision on what your gonna do in a matter of seconds. You call that simple? dominant simple? no. its complicated to do that in a matter of seconds no matter how good you are or which strategies you implement in your game if you wanna win most hands or stay on top of leader boards or whatever. Playing 60/high or 90/medium games in one month against all kinds of diff players no matter how good you are is difficult to do as far as getting 1st place. ive 3 peeted monthly 1st place leader boards on that many games a month many times ( thats 180 games in a row in 1st place on high stakes and 270 games in a row on medium stakes… was it because of odds or positioning? No, it was because i outplayed all opponents utilized many factors into my play at the table by playing any 2 cards many times. So odds,positioning,great so called whole cards, etc,etc dont mean as much to some players then it does to others using other tactics, Everyone plays different. How about the odds focused players, how will they fair against every type of player here including bingo players when their odds based info they base their bets on fails because your up against players that will call anything sometimes and now it skews your whole theory up when u bet/raise and now your 5 or 6 handed? those players need to start and keep improving on the many other aspects that they dont use, because that play alone is simple. Everyone plays different and has diff strategies, the harder part is to find out which ones work the best for you as far as winning. If you cant win most hands in any different game type with any 2 hole cards then you havnt even touched the psychological part of the game yet ( which is in top 3 of importance as far as winning ) Sophisticated poker words/abbreviations means nothing to me as far as winning hands.

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Hey John, just wanted to respond as far as read/perceptions u mentioned and true strategy. Reading players or having a somewhat good read on a player or players is certainly key in every move you make now and in the long run ( meaning always ). Its deff. on my top 3 list of important things to know/do. Thats much harder to learn how to do than any purist odds type player. Some people cant even learn it and they either have it or they dont. Much like many things in life. If strategy didnt include reading players well on any given table ( rings or tourneys ) then this game would be pretty dull and boring and this site and others wouldnt even be here. Might as well play blackjack,roulette, or even slots. I do agree that this is not the best place to talk specific strategies for the more skilled players ( prob should be a separate forum for that ) only because there is such a difference of opinions ( which i think is a great thing ) Newer players that want to be able to learn different parts/strategies of the game can take away more things from here and try them out/experiment more things on their own. After all i think this should be to try and help the newer players out more than debating certain strategies in words or poker abbreviations that they have never heard of. How are they supposed to grasp any opinions here if it is a foreign language to them. Although i know what those words mean it doesnt mean most others do…so i try to keep it/explain things as simple as possible for them. Explaining what those words mean wouldnt be a bad idea when you use them so they can at least relate to and learn from what you are talking about ( just my opinion ) But being so critical and debating other peoples opinions here have gotten so out of hand that it almost makes it the wrong place to talk about strategies. The players trying to learn are the ones that are missing out the most here because of that. im sure all these posts will once again be criticized too.

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Hi, sorry for the late reply, I just finished working

I apologize if I gave the impression that I was criticizing your posts. While I do have drastically different beliefs about how to play the best poker and win chips, I still definitely respect the fact that you have taken a different approach to the game that has been working out great for you.

Everyone plays different and has diff strategies, the harder part is to find out which ones work the best for you as far as winning

This is perfect. 0 disagreement.

I think that the psychological/reads factor(not sure if this is a combined factor or separate) has much less weight for me personally since I’m unable to use it to consistently win a lot of chips. For me, it’s much easier to follow more technical principles that are mathematically sound, rather than try to track tendencies of each player and look for reads, mostly because I enjoy playing multiple tables, and have a hard time keeping up(also admittedly because I’m not as experienced with the game).

Also, about the complicated-ness of our strategies, I’d say that both of our strategies are very complex, it’s just that I don’t know enough about reads to understand the true complexity, and you don’t know enough about the mathematical theory to understand the true complexity.

I generally disagree with the idea that we need to simplify our language, since I’m not posting for the main goal of helping those who are new to poker. Rather, I’m just trying to discuss ideas and explore the input of anyone who has ideas that I’ve never thought about(for example, you!)

I’m always glad to see others’ viewpoints, since there’s something to learn from anyone.


Excellent point floridajetski. There are many players on the rings and in the SnGs and the MTTs that do suck. But the same is true with online poker with real money and poker rooms and gambling in general in Las Vegas. Vegas was not built or grown with hordes of great gamblers pulling into town, but rather off of bad, medium and even very good players.
My father had a friend who was an excellent gambler and would always make a yearly trip to Las Vegas. He would joke that he came back from Vegas with a small fortune, unfortunately, he would joke, he went there with a large fortune.

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Well, if you play against me, the chances of beating me on the river ore very good. I lose on the river more than any other I have seen.

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Admittedly harsh, thanks for calling me out on that. There is bad poker being played in a ton of different locations. The actual worst poker is probably being played on Zinga or WSOP apps. The play on Replay is pretty atrocious though. I’ve never disputed that very bad play happens in casinos, in fact I’ve tried to argue thus point to the “Replay is fixed” crowd for many a moons. It is not as frequent though or to the level it is here. In the casino I’ll open AA over 5 limpers to 10 bb and get 4 callers and be stacked by J4o on a KJ4r board. I will however stack KJo way more often than the J4 scenario happens.

Now, I do not dispute that you play very well and you probably exploit the hell out of your opponents. I also am in no way disputing the psychological aspects of the game, they’re real and they’re spectacular! If someone’s cognitive development at the table is advanced enough to detect patterns or develop reads on the population or specific players based on tells in relation to physical behavior, bet sizing, timing, frequencies, ect. it can be a powerful tool. These skills take time and experience to develop. If the OP has reads then they should be in the question/HH or whatever. Like if we open Ad5d in the CO and the BTN 3! us, OP should let us know how often V 3!, does he 3! light, does he fold too often to 4!. If that info isn’t given then how in the world can it be considered? That being said, poker is a game based in math and the numbers are important. I think where you and I usually part ways is when we’re trying to answer questions about a specific situation. Situations that reoccur over and over and over again. These spots can be analyzed and GTO approximate lines can be determined and implemented. Like what do we do when we 3! the CO from SB with AA and CO flats and the flop comes T76 two toned. In this post for example the OP asked a question that has a very simple mathematical answer and all the stuff you’re talking about in your initial reply doesn’t mean anything. You can not base decisions on reads that don’t apply to the current situation. So yeah psychology and reads are important but only when they’re relevant. I’m rambling and I’m not going to proof read this so hopefully it’s okay. Just know this isn’t personal, I’m pretty sure we both have kind of the same intentions for being in these forums and they’re good even if our advice isn’t… :joy: Cheers everyone!

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1 small thing that might bring some more clarity to this since no one has mentioned it yet:

By definition, optimal GTO play(the mathematical approach) achieves a Nash Equilibrium. If both players play absolutely mathematically perfectly using math, the net EV will be 0, since poker is a zero-sum game.

Here’s the important part. Achieving Nash Equilibrium means that if the opponent plays optimally, they will achieve the maximum EV. HOWEVER: If they deviate from it in any shape or form, they will lose out on EV and lose against the perfect GTO player.

By only using perfect math(although that’s obviously impossible for humans), it means that you will win a lot of chips by definition.

There are proofs online of these facts, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to explain that; I just know that these are true.