River, river, river — there’s something about the river that makes a good poker player go absolutely nuts! We see it time after time — chasing the river, and trying to bet hard on the river. It’s two different situations, but betting on the river isn’t a good thing at all. What you really want to do is make sure that the river bet is as profitable and plausible as possible. Does the bet make sense? That’s what we’re trying to find out.
It’s all about value — you want to hope for better hands to fold, or for worse hands to call. Worse hands no longer have time to get better, so a good bet can actually add money to the pot that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
The problem is that against decent competition, the bad hands will just fold, and the better hands may actually raise you on the river as a way of goading you into spewing chips into a pot that you just can’t win. If you sense this is happening to you, you definitely need to make sure that you fold out as soon as possible.
Player image does play a role into the type of hand that you should be betting at the river on. If you are going against a calling station that will call any bet, then betting on the river means that you’re adding more profit into your pocket. However, if you’re going against tight aggressive players, you’re not going to add anymore profit \into your stack.
Looking at all of your options is important. There’s nothing wrong with not betting on the river and just going into the showdown. Mixing it up will also keep the other players guessing. If they know that you’re going to always bet on the river when you have something good, then they’ll just fold.
Experiment in real games and see what happens. Good luck!