River how do i lose every hand on the river

whats going wrong i dont understand im dealt with two good base cards so i bet ante flop laid and i have either two pair highest on table or three of a kind turn comes down no possible flush three cards for a straight some one bets big so thinking i have upper hand i bet then the fatal card the river cards on table need 8 5 for a straight i still have three or two highest pair and bang my last opponent bets i bet and yes he has 8 5 unsuited who bets with 85 unsuited every hand i lose is always down to the river full house 6 over 8 this person has 8 over 6 thanks again to the river unreal does any one else go through the same thing 20 200k happy new year tourneys played won one placed one lost 18 how is this always down to the river explain if you can i dont understand how the law of averages always knacker me up why what am i doing wrong


It’s like someone put my forum output for the past 6 months into a compression algorithm.


lol not quite sure what that means but ty for your words of wisdom

Well you are allowing the hands to go to the river way too much. Different betting strategies will reduce that amount substantially. As far as the law of averages taking the same games of the other 8 players on your table placing/winning 2 out of 20 games like you ( if you dont change your play ) will total 16 placings/wins for them out of 20 games and adding that to your two is 18 which is close enough to 20 as far as being within the margin of error. The difference is that almost all of the others are winning and placing much more than you are for whatever reason no one knows. Posting hands for review here might be able to help you by telling you why or what you are doing wrong. Sorry Pugg, i meant this to be a response to Tony2294 and not you.

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Ty very much for that Imput I will certainly step up my betting before the river and yes I don’t bet as often as I should I will certainly try to improve this part of my game very grateful for your wise wisdom Ty Tony

preflop raising helps keep the blinds from coming in with junk, cause it’s free, or cheap, then drawing out on the river.

Thank you

took your advice about betting more finally got placed ty very much very helpfull advice


Welcome to our sport! You are doing nothing wrong, but you might want to read one or two books or even Web sites about NL hold’em poker to learn some of the basics of the game, then apply them to the level you are playing at until you become a consistent winner, then move on up to a higher level.

I started playing on this site less than a year and a half ago and have had a lot of fun, and moved up from 2500 chips to whatever I have now. There will be times when you will feel you are banging your head against a brick wall, but hang in there. You already have more than half a million chips, so you have done the hardest part already.

thank you very much it is greatly appreciated parting with your wisdom yes i am still trying to learn the game only started playing end of octobe 19 its been hard i bought a beginners pack when i started 60000 chips every thing since then has been earned on the tables what books would you recommend a total novice start reading thank,you

“Strategy in Poker, Business, and War” by John MacDonald [based on von Neumann’s games theory]
“Poker, a Guaranteed Income for Life” by Frank Wallace [philosophy of winning]
“The Education of a Poker Player,” by Herbert O. Yardley (a code breaker’s personal memoirs) [draw and stud poker]
“Poker According to Maverick” uncredited [draw and stud poker]
“Total Poker” by David Spanier [draw and stud poker]
“Scarne on Cards” by John Scarne [some strategy, especially useful in detecting cheating in live games]

There have also been recent mentions in the forums of Arnold “the Bishop” Snyder’s poker books. They’re all moving you in the right direction. Several are fun, too. Good luck.

thank you for the info you have given me a lot to get on with once again many thanks

There is a thread called The Links Library on here. It contains links to free downloadable books and to good online sites. Pretty much everything you find there has been added by players improving their game so I’m sure you will find it useful. Some of the sites are really good for all levels of players.


Thank you I’m going to try it immediatley

I wanted to follow up. For the past few months, I’ve been posting to a thread on these forums that I started, called “Today’s ridiculous hands” which started out as a place to vent when I ran into a bad beat. Often it was the river card that did me in, and it got there despite me giving my opponent poor odds to get there.

These situations are not terribly uncommon, but it can be minimized if you’re playing against skilled players who know when to fold their hand.

From reading the other responses in this thread, it sounds as though you’re more toward the beginner spectrum in your skill/experience level, yourself. As you know, poker is an extremely difficult game, and it takes time to learn, and you never really stop. That is simultaneously what is so great about the game, and what is so frustrating.

Poker is an extremely well-balanced game. It’s possible for any two cards to beat any two cards, given the right next five cards, and in many cases it’s the river card that can make the difference.

There’s (at least) two ways to look at the question of “why do I lose on the river”:

  1. You’re not folding enough.
  2. You’re not betting enough, earlier.

Let’s explore these:

Not folding enough:

When you see cards hit the board that don’t help your hand, they could be good for your opponent.

You can (and should) try to figure out what cards your opponent is holding, based on their actions in the hand. If they are staying in the hand, there must be a reason. If they are raising, there must be a reason. If they are folding, there must be a reason.

In online games, there’s a few restrictions that make discerning this reason more difficult.

First, there’s a time limit on your action, which is very short compared to what is allowed in a live table game. In Turbo games especially, you are on a fast clock. This makes it difficult to make a good decision. But once you’ve played a few ten thousand hands or more, you’ll get good at it. It’s a matter of honing your instincts and developing a skill to read the table quickly.

You need to look at not just the cards, but the size of the pot, the size of everybody’s stacks, and everybody’s actions thus far in the hand, and in previous hands as well. This is a lot of information to process in under a minute. Yet you often see players making decisions quickly, almost immediately. The later you are to act in the hand, the more time you get (because you have time to think while everyone else ahead of you is taking their time to act.) Use this time to your advantage, while also observing your opponents’ actions.

Second, you can’t see anyone’s face or body language in online poker, and this takes away a ton of opportunities to get a “read” on how your opponent feels about their cards. This makes online poker a much more mathematical game, but it doesn’t take away psychological elements of the game, so much as it masks them.

You have to infer how players are thinking based on long-term observation of their play. Obviously, this is not something you can do immediately, but it takes time, both to develop the ability to read player’s play, and to make the observations. The longer you have, the better you can get at it. Some players take notes, and if this helps you to keep all the information, you should do it.

I personally find that it’s too cumbersome to take notes on individual players, both to take the notes in the first place, and to bring them up later when I need them. So I keep everything in my head. This is both good and bad, but I think for me it’s more good than bad, because keeping it all in my head means that my brain is getting a good workout, the most important information is most immediately at my disposal, and outdated or wrong information gets purged naturally through the process of forgetting, whereas in a written note it will remain forever until I erase it or update it with better information.

But even without thinking about how your opponent is acting and what that can tell you about the strength of their hand, you can tell a lot about your prospects in a hand by looking at your cards and the community cards on the board. This is the starting place, and for many players, also as far as they go with their thinking. And it can take you pretty far in terms of making your decisions.

You should develop the ability to read the hand quickly. In a split second, at a glance, you should be able to tell what your hand is, and in just a few more seconds, you should be able to tell what the prospects are for the hand you’re currently playing – what cards you would like to see to improve it to the best hand you can make with what’s already out there, and how likely it is to see those cards.

If you’re playing a pair, you should know that pairs are vulnerable hands, but also that pairs are often all that is needed to win a showdown. But if you see the board run out in a way that makes you less confident in the strength of your pair hands, it’s often a good idea to fold. Good players fold weaker hands. It’s a matter of knowing when you’re likely beat.

Not betting enough, earlier:

If you get a hand like top pair early, you can use the strength of your immediate position to deny your opponents good odds to hit draws by betting more, earlier. Having Top Pair on the flop is a great place to be, and you can make a bet sized to make it smart for players who may not have a hand made yet, but who are on a draw, fold to your bet, allowing you to take the pot.

Simply put, if you’re losing a lot of your hands on the river, then you either want to be not playing those hands so much, or you may want to not get to the river so much. If it’s really the river card that’s beating you, time and again, then you’ll be better off folding more, but before you fold, if you think your hand is good and likely ahead, then you should bet it more, and make your opponent be the one to fold. Don’t let them see a river, and the river cannot beat you.

Knowing how much to bet to get your opponent to fold isn’t easy, of course. Every player plays differently from every other player. Some players call too much, and can be difficult to get out of a hand. Others are cautious and will be easy to make fold.

You can exploit both types of behavior, though, which is the good news.

For a player who folds too often, you can take a lot of smaller pots from them by being aggressive. It’s a matter of learning their threshold for what they’ll call. If this sort of player is calling your bets in a given hand, you should recognize that you’re likely up against something good, and you may want to think about folding rather than sending all your chips over to them. Better to fold too early, and lose a few chips, than too late, and lose a lot.

For a player who calls too often, you can take a lot of big pots from them, but sometimes you’ll get beat when they end up hitting something with the river card that you hoped to deny them the chance to see. For a player who doesn’t know when to fold, you want to take them for all their chips. In tournament play, you just need to do this once, because they can’t rebuy, and after they bust, they’re gone and you no longer have to worry about them. In ring play, they might well replenish and come back in on the next hand. In the long run, you can get a lot more chips out of such a player than you’ll be paying them, provided that you know when you should fold (or at least stop betting into them).

To play poker well, you need to be able to tolerate a certain amount of risk, and a certain amount of actual loss. You never will win every hand you play. And even hands where you’re ahead can end up blowing up on you spectacularly on the last street. To withstand this, you need to keep your emotions in check. Learning to let go of losses is an important key to playing consistently well. You also need a strong enough bankroll that you can withstand those losses, in order to come back and play more. If you’re a good player, over the long term you will tend to win more than you lose. If you’re playing at stakes appropriate to the size of your bankroll, you will be able to play through these periods and be profitable in the long term. And the long term is really what it’s all about.

But even good players go through streaks where they lose more than they’re winning. It can be extremely frustrating, and it is often not anything more than luck factors that you can’t do anything about. In truly random series of numbers, you can observe odd clusters in the sequence, things that don’t look random, like a fair coin flipping the same side 10 times in a row. Sometimes it’s this, but often times it’s due to some hole in your game that others have picked up on and learned to exploit.

So you need to be constantly making adjustments to your play, to keep your regular opponents off-balance, and keep them from gaining an advantage over you. What’s difficult about this is that “good play” doesn’t really change. But if you’re too predictable, opponents can figure out what to do when you act the same way in the same situation every time. You want your opponents to make mistakes, and you want them to not know what to do. So there’s an edge to be had by being unpredictable at times.

I like to think of it in terms of Kung Fu movies, where one temple has a particular style that they own and favor, while another rival has a different style, and they battle with each other over who’s style is really the best. But there comes a fighter, as exemplified by the great Bruce Lee, who transcends style, who realizes that any style of martial art is ultimately a limit that constrains a fighter who limits himself to that style, and who can beat everyone, by being “like water” and able to adapt to the shape of any container, according to what each situation calls for.

Being unpredictable isn’t the same thing as being completely random. It’s about being able to see the situation clearly and totally, and making the right action for the time. To do this time and again requires mastery, and to attain mastery requires dedication and experience. But in any situation, there are a number of actions you might take, and some are better than others. Some will be more expected than others. And often what is expected will be the best action, by conventional thinking. If you get to the level where you can exploit conventional thinking by doing the unexpected, this will give you another way to beat your opponent.

The classic example is to try to appear weak when you are actually strong, and to look strong when you are actually weak. This is why you’ll see players betting big with a hand like pairs, while checking to their opponents when they flop a set or full house. The hand with the pair bets big because he wants the fold; the player with the boat checks because he wants the other player to feel like they can win the hand by betting them off of it.

But being unpredictable isn’t just a matter of “do the opposite”. If you always check when you flop a nut flush, your opponent will probably learn to check back, and you won’t ever see a big pot when you flop a flush ever again. Or they may feeler bet you, and if you don’t fold to a small bet, they’ll keep the pot small, and you won’t realize value. So sometimes you should mix it up and make it look like you’re bluffing when you’re not. Get them to think that you are bluffing, and that they can call you, and now you’ve got another way to get a lot more chips out of these hands.

If you just do the opposite, then you’re probably making a lot of bad actions and will just hurt yourself in the long term as well as in the short term. Being unpredictable isn’t about being predictably opposite of conventional. It’s about confusing your opponent so they are never quite sure what you’re doing, or why, and thus can’t know what to do in response.

Another thing you can do is make a “stupid” mistake early in a game, and give your opponent the sense that you are not a good player, and will make the same mistake again. You may need to make the mistake a few times to create this sense, and you have to be careful about this. But eventually you can get the right hand where you take the same line with it as you have in the past where it was a “mistake”, and this time you win all the chips. For example, if your opponent decides that you are continuation betting a lot, they may exploit you for a while by flat calling your flop bet, then watching to see if you check the Turn, and betting it big if you do, to make you fold because you don’t really have anything. You can give up a few c-bets like that, letting your opponent win a few small pots. But when you flop a set or something else especially strong, you can make the same size bet, that looks like another continuation bet bluff, let them call, check the turn, and now when they throw a pot-size bet at you, you call/raise and get all those chips back and more.

This is what I mean when I say that online poker masks the psychological part of the game, rather than remove it. It’s not about reading body language, or faces, or what someone’s doing with their hands. It’s about inferring what your opponents are thinking, as evidenced by how they act, and observing patterns in how they tend to act, then learning to recognize those patterns in the moment, and respond in the most exploitative way that is to your advantage.

I guess this response ended up getting fairly wide in scope, and I’ve wandered a bit from the original question. So to bring it back home:

If you’re losing a lot of hands on the river:

  • Fold more hands.
  • Bet more, earlier.

my friend i can not thank you enough as well as every one else who has commented on my predicament i found what you said to be very enlightening and intend to read and read and read it time again untioll it becomes second nature to me doing what you said to every one a very big heart felt thank you to all i am still going over every day what every one has said and hopefully one day i will be able to sit at a table with you all and do you all proud once again a very big thank you

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My friend ican not thank you enough for the sound advice you have given me its invaluable to me I will read and read and read what you have said till it becomes second nature to me I can not thank you enough and intend acting upon your comments with immediate effect once again a very big and heart felt thank you

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Sure, no problem. Don’t expect to be able to apply everything I touched on right away, though. Getting better is a gradual process.

Puggy, your “Fold more, bet more” comment above is likely the best thing you’ve written, at least that I’ve read. Good for you.

Another reason the river beats us is because there are simply so many MORE combinations available when that fifth and final card turns. The 2nd card can only connect to the first in a few ways. The third card can connect more than double that number of ways, the fourth (Turn card) doubles or more again, and the fifth (river) does too. So, of course, the river is “usually” the card that beats us if we lose. And, as noted throughout, the more opponents we have going into the river, the better the chance one of them will get lucky, swim across the river and steal our chips.


puggywug been following your info closely and i have been placed two out of three tourneys even when the two i got placed in i was down to 255 and 480 chips in first few hands thank you for your words of wisdom well chuffed asnd not lost half as many hands to the river ty

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