HOW TO USE YOUR HUD: River Betting & Folding Stats

River Betting

I also recommend that you don’t use river continuation bet on your HUD. Not because it isn’t a useful statistic, but because people triple barrel so rarely. Invariably, the small sample size will lead to there not being much there. I substitute it instead with “river bet.” River bet gives us a good idea of how often our opponent likes to go after the river.

People are extremely polarized when it comes to rivers. Some fire at every single one that looks promising, and others are so afraid of the pot blowing up in size they don’t touch a chip. A river bet of 30% or lower tends to be value- driven, and 20% or lower is even more extreme. A bet of 50% or higher indicates a number of bluffs.

While a flop-continuation-bet percentage of 60% doesn’t indicate many bluffs we have to remember that every street our opponent’s range goes through a thinning process, much like it’s going through a spaghetti strainer. If he had to check/call, that is one strainer. If he doesn’t continuation bet 40% of his bluffing hands, that is another strainer. For that reason his range should be largely strong hands by the end.

If he’s still firing constantly that means he’s taking some mediocre hands to war when the pots are largest. Many people choke when the chip totals become gargantuan. Keep an open mind versus the prolific river leaders and triple barrelers.

Folding Stats

Fold to continuation bet is another wonderful marker of honesty. Typically, you miss the board 60% of the time; 40% of the time you will hit the board, have some form of a draw, or have a good high card; 60% of the time you have no draw, nothing. If you see someone who folds 60% of the time to a continuation bet that indicates a straightforward player. You should approach them on the turn with caution. If their fold-to-continuation-bet percentage is something like 33% per se, that is another matter. This indicates that a great deal of the time this player is not folding when they flop nothing.

Versus this type I recommend my players to look at the turn-fold-to- continuation-bet statistic. If that one is north of 60% then that is when our player becomes honest. If you’re going to bluff them you need to fire two barrels. If you fire one bet on the flop and check/fold you are playing perfectly against this player. He believes everyone fires an obligatory continuation bet and then only bets the turn if they have something, and you played perfect poker to get exploited by that assumption.

Put these numbers next to each other on the HUD. Fold to continuation bet (this refers to the flop play), fold to turn continuation bet, and fold to river bet. Consult these figures before you do anything postflop. If the person never folds flop or turn you’re going to need to plan to triple barrel. You should be structuring your sizings for a river jam before you even throw out the flop bet. If you’re not you are playing sub-optimally.

The triple barrel has become a much better play in recent years. Many assume that the turn bet has become a standardized wager, much like the flop continuation bet was once. For this reason, they call twice, leaving themselves with far too many hands heading into the river. This is like a boxer leaving his jaw out. Any decent bet will clear them out.

It used to be a bad idea to triple barrel the river in tournaments. I still suggest players should load up the turn against their most basic opponents. The primitive player reacts to his biases, and his instincts are plentiful on the river. On the turn, when the party we are attempting to bluff is thinking, there is the threat of another bet. Further community cards could interrupt the player’s equity. They also do not get to see your hand.

On the river, the bluffer has none of these advantages. The caller gets to see the triple barreler’s hand; curiosity equity is a hell of a thing, especially when

playing with tournament Monopoly money. There are also no further cards to deter their hand’s equity, and they don’t have to worry about future bets.

Sometimes you will see a player never folds. His fold-to-continuation-bet statistics are 33% on each street. Versus them your bluffing range should be cut down, and you should value bet mercilessly. Second pair, third kicker? Take them to the river. Make them pay.

If they fold quite a bit on one street and are continuing with you on a further one, you should make your bets larger. If you are bluffing you need to get them away from stronger hands. If you’re betting for a value you can go larger as well, because only the best hands are calling anyway, and they are likely to pay more.

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