So far I have only discussed what to do with top pair hands on the river. What if you have a more mediocre holding such as bottom or middle pair? These situations are a little bit more tricky and are very player dependent. Against most competent players I don’t think you should be value betting too often in these kinds of spots. This is because you simply won’t get called by worse often enough.
Their range is usually very polarized by the river. They either have a missed draw for nothing or a middle pair type hand or better. So if you bet your middling strength hand, they fold their missed draw and you take down a pot that you would have won at showdown anyways. And conversely you get called or raised by better pair hands. A lose/lose situation.
However, against fish and most SLPs you will get called by worse hands often enough to warrant a bet. You should still be aware of your hand strength however. There is a big difference between middle pair no kicker and middle pair top kicker for instance. But I would still advocate that you value bet the bottom end of this range as well. These players love to make hero calls with many worse hands. Against a reg on the other hand, I will usually only bet with middle pair good kicker or better.
The two examples below will hopefully help illustrate this. In the first one I would value bet against SLPs and fish only. In the second one I would value bet against all player types.
And the board is,
And the board is,
It is important to note here that I will often bet 1/2 pot in these spots even against SLP and fish. On really dry boards like this it is really hard for them to have anything. I think that with a smaller bet sizing they will be more inclined to make a hero call with ace high or bottom pair.
With my third, fourth and bottom pair type hands I will usually just look to check it down on the river against all player types. I just don’t think there is enough value in betting these types of hands. I don’t get called by worse often enough. And I don’t need to turn my hand into a bluff because I often have the best hand anyways.