Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hero Calls on the River

Well I've created some filters for this specific situation in my database so that I can monitor how I'm getting on. I've felt just lately that I might have been spewing a little in these spots, especially when I hero call with weak pairs and ace high.

I think it's very important to stress that in situations where you're hero calling on the river, you should be losing money in these hands on average. [ Edit: I need to emphasise that this is for the hand overall, not the street we're playing. In a vacuum our river calls should be making us money. ] This might appear to be a really dumb thing to say but let me explain.

When we face a river bet it's almost always less than a pot sized bet. That means that in general we only need to be correct around a third of the time (and often less if villain bets small). In these instances if we were playing perfectly and calling exactly the correct % of the time given our pot odds then we'd actually be losing money overall because we'd be winning at showdown only around a third of the time. That doesn't mean that the river call was unprofitable, the effect of playing the river well in this situation is to minimise the losses from the hand. Folding too much or calling too much would lead to even bigger losses.

If anyone is reading this and thinks I'm mad, let me know in the comments and I'll do an example that demonstrates this concept.

Hero Calls with Top Pair or an Over Pair

In situations where I have top pair or better and hero call on the river, I'm winning at showdown a little over half of the time at the moment. This could mean that I'm folding a little too often on the river with a good hand, but I don't in general fold hands like this facing a river bet. I think it's more likely that my opponents are betting too much junk into this range come the river. Perhaps I'm not raising the river enough with these hands too?

Hero Calls with Weak Pairs

This is where things get a little more interesting. I'm winning at showdown in these spots around a third of the time so it looks like I'm doing a mixture of calling and folding and (so far) winning at around the right sort of %. If this number was to move sharply in one direction or the other I think I'd have a clear leak, but it looks like I'm doing OK.

Hero Calls with High Cards

Here it looks like I may have a problem. I'm only winning at showdown around 20% of the time when I call on the river with high cards. For this to be OK our opponent needs to be betting a third of a pot sized bet or less on average. Looking through my database this is actually generally true, so perhaps I'm not spewing here as much as I thought.

So far I've been doing OK in the hero calls stakes but I need to be very careful in these situations that I don't start giving money away. My sample sizes are very small at the moment but now that I'm more aware of what numbers I should be looking for, I should be able to spot a leak should one develop.

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