One thing many people don’t understand is this: a large part of the time when you get to the river, you’ll be going against only one or possibly two other players. To get this far, these players have obviously gotten cards that they believe are going to be winners. Therefore, you should only bet on the river in very specific situations.
When You Have a Smoking Hand
The most important time to bet on the river is when you have a hand you believe the other players simply can’t beat. I mean, this has to be the smoking hand that gives you 100% confidence that you’re going to win. Of course, the other players believe this as well or they wouldn’t be going all the way with you. When betting on the river, make sure your hand justifies it because you’re going to have to show what you’ve got.
When You Sincerely Believe the Other Players are Going to Fold
The other situation in which you can bet on the river is when you sincerely believe your opponent(s) are going to fold. This might come from the notes you’ve taken on them or the way they play or other things that you’ve observed from this particular player, but you’ve got to be pretty sure he’s going to fold and that you’re going to get the pot.
This is especially important if you’re an inexperienced player, because many new poker players will go all the distance without having the hand to take the pot in the end.