Tips for Playing the Turn and River in Texas Hold’em

Playing The Turn in Texas Hold'em

The turn can be tricky to play in Texas Hold’em. Some players will be too passive on the turn following a continuation bet and will shut down. On the other hand, some players are much too aggressive, and will continue to represent a strong hand, even when logic suggests the other players involved in the hand likely aren’t folding. You want to find the right balance somewhere in between. Examine the turn card to see how it affects the board and your opponent’s range.
Bet or Raise Now: If you initiated the betting on the flop with what you felt was the best hand, continue to bet it. Examine the board after the turn and if don't see any obvious threats you should assume you still have the best hand. Bet out here and raise any bets before you. You need to do it now. You can't let drawing hands or weak players stay in for free at this point. Make them pay to see another card. Scare them out if possible. Get their money into the pot if they won't get out.

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If you're not aggressive on the turn, One, the river may hit one of your opponents costing you the pot. Two, If they miss their draw, they'll just fold on the river, meaning you won't make any additional money there, so you see, you must charge them as much as possible on the turn to either take them out or make them pay to stay. Keep in mind that aggression is occasionally met with a monster hand that was slow-played by a "deceptive" player. That's O.K. because you'll win more than enough pots to cover it by being aggressive. Many online players entire basic strategy can be summed up as "act weak when strong, strong when weak" a strategy that will not work in low limit games.
The Scary Turn Card: If you bet on the flop and on the turn it looks like there's a good chance you are beaten you should just check here. For example say you have AA and the flop came 8-9-J with two clubs. If the turn comes with a 10 of clubs, you're pair of aces is now pretty certainly doomed against a large field of players and probably doomed against more than one. You should back off and check here. If no one bets that's great, but don't hesitate to fold if there's any betting action from a tight player. Like the song says, "You got to know when to fold 'em."

Playing The River in Texas Hold'em

If you've bet or called to the river you should be holding a hand that has a good chance of taking the pot at showdown. If you have a good but not great hand you should get to showdown as cheap as possible. Unless you're sure you've lost it's usually best to call here. If you do and lose, it only cost you one more bet. Folding a winning hand on the river is a far bigger mistake. Never forget that. You only need to be right about one in five times to make it the profitable decision. When in doubt on the river, call, especially if the pot is large and you have a reasonable hand.
Be careful about betting the river any mistakes you make are compounded due to the bloated pot size. If the river card looks like it probably helped your opponent or opponents (if it's a multi-way pot) it's a good idea to check on the river, even if you've initiated the betting to this point. Most players will bet in this situation thinking that checking will be construed as weakness, and it will. But this is the end of the hand. If you bet out and the others have missed their hands they'll fold. The problem is if they don't fold you are almost certainly beat and to make matters worse, will probably be raised. Check your marginal hands on the river since you can’t expect to get value from worse hands, which is the whole point of betting in the first place. If your opponent bets after you check you just call the bet, spending the same amount you would have to bet before him, and not risking having to call a raise if you've lost.
A Raise on the River From a Rock: Here's a river situation that you'll run across on a regular basis in low limit poker. A player you've been watching who hasn't made an aggressive move all day will suddenly put in a raise on the river after checking and calling the whole way. Guess what? He has a very big hand and the turn likely improved it. Fold here unless the pot is large enough to justify the expense of an extra bet. Why pay a predictable player more than you have to when you know you're beat? I can't count the number of times I've seen a player call in this situation and then say "I knew it" after the showdown. If you know something in poker you should act on your knowledge.