River decisions with one pair hands will happen fairly regularly and we can break them down into value bets and value calls.
Value Betting With a Top Pair Hand
When betting for value with a top pair hand it will often be after we have checked the turn for pot control. We did this for a number of reasons. Against the more solid player types, regs especially, we didn’t expect to be able to bet the turn and get called by worse very often. This also disguises the strength of our hand and gives us a much better chance of getting some value now. There will certainly be plenty of occasions however where we have TPTK or TPGK against a fish and should go for three streets of value. I will discuss those spots later.
So a common situation might be one like this with the board reading,
And you have,
So assume you cbet and then checked the turn for pot control against a reg. On the river this is now a clear value bet situation. If you are OOP, then you should bet. And if you are IP it is an even easier bet as people don’t check twice with something good. There are plenty of hands that you can get value from such as worse aces,
–> You should bet around 2/3 of the pot.
You do not want to bet too small and not get enough value from your hand. However you also don’t want to bet too big and blow all these worse hands out of the water. So I think a bet of about 2/3 the pot accomplishes that.
The size of the pot in these situations will usually be around 20 big blinds.
If you bet 20 big blinds and only get a call 1/10 times when you could have gotten a call 5/10 times with a 13 big blind bet it should be pretty obvious how big of a mistake this is.
If we were to run this scenario 10 times we would have cost ourselves 45bb or nearly 1/2 a stack! Now to be fair, these call percentages are certainly a little bit arbitrary as it’s hard to be certain but I think the main point here should be clear.
River value bet situations seem like fairly mundane spots but they add up in a big way over the longrun. A big part of your winrate is really just about how well you play in a lot of fairly ordinary situations like this one. It is important to make sure that you squeeze every last big blind out of them with the right bet size.
Against fish and most SLPs however, the rules go out the window as usual. With them a bigger bet is usually the best way to go. As we have seen several times now, their decisions are mostly based on what they think about their own hand, not what their opponent could have or what a certain bet sizing could mean.
For the most part, they are going to call if they are going to call and they are going to fold if they are going to fold. So when you have a hand like this that stands to be ahead of their range a large amount of the time, you should bet big. Also, they are more likely to interpret a big bet as a bluff. More on that later though.