Is Shoving the River the Best Play?

Posted on Jan 18, 2010 by Gugel in Poker Strategy

Heres a pretty interesting hand I played today.  Villains stats:

VPIP BB: 34%
VPIP SB: 73%
3Bet: 12%
Checkraise: 14%
Hes somewhat aggressive on the flop, but calms down on later streets.

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Hero (BTN/SB): $148.75
BB: $62.20

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN/SB with 6 of spades 7 of spades
Hero raises to $1.50, BB calls $1

Flop: ($3.00) K of spades J of spades A of diamonds (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $2, BB raises to $8, Hero calls $6
Villain would likely 3bet KK, JJ, AA, AK and probably AJ preflop.  The hands Im most worried about are QT and KJ.  I think he has a lot of combo draws in his range (hands like KT, JT, etc.) and I have decent equity and good bluffing opportunities on later streets.

Turn: ($19.00) J of clubs (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $13.50, BB calls $13.50
Im not gonna win the pot with 7 high and this is a really good card for me to bluff. Hes probably going to lay down at least some of his semi-bluffs and I can credibly bluff some rivers.

River: ($46.00) K of hearts (2 players)
BB checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero checks
Im not quite sure if shoving or checking is the best play.  I dont think he check calls the turn with Jx, but how many kings are in his range?  Post a comment with your thoughts.

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9 Responses to Is Shoving the River the Best Play?

  1. yanzhang

    18. Jan, 2010


    If hes somewhat aggro on the flop, Im going to put his flop range on 2pair + better, any Ax, any flush draw, some gutshots like lonely Ts and Qs, and occasionally air.

    I dont think he has many Ks in his range. I imagine that if he is this kind of player then his flop c/r % would be much higher than 14% (at least 25%?). You have him on 14%, which looks pretty much like the right % for the range Ive given and consistent with the aggro on flop, slows down after style. That said, KQ and TK may at times play this way.

    The turn check, besides making monsters stronger and AK weaker (but still calling you) probably turns most Ax into bluff catchers, which is consistent with his c/c line. He definitely still has draws and such, but I think all the gutshots have folded by now. If he has draws, theyre probably flush draws or paired draws. KQ and KT are here still.

    River, like you said, is interesting. I take out Js and monsters from his range because he doesnt c/c turn like you said, I assume his range looks mostly like an A or missed flush draws (maybe both), with a few combinations of K (KT, KQ, etc.). You have 2 of the spades, so Id give him something like around 10 combinations of the spade draws. There are a lot more As though.

    I dont like shoving here, but I think the two options are about equal. Not that Im that scared of the K (Ks sometimes bet the river, and I dont think he has a K that much by my analysis above), but betting the river is really equivalent to trying to get As to fold, I think. If he is a decent hand reader I probably check back I feel you took your chance on the turn considering you were bet/folding-ing turn anyway it isnt like you missed an opportunity. Of course, if hes a bad hand reader and your image is good I would shove, because there are def a lot of As in his range.

    A good question (which I dont really have a good idea of) is if against decent hand readers your line reps a full house at all (most Js dont call a c/r on the flop, many Ks dont really bet turn) and you might get hero-called with an A? Maybe Im leveling myself here.


  2. The Poker Meister

    18. Jan, 2010

    Pretty certain hes calling any Ax hand. Im no heads-up specialist, but I disagree with shoving the river. Although this is a pretty miserable board for Ax, hes shown that hes calling you down the whole way. I also dont think hes setting you up for a check / raise.

    His flop raise may put him on a monster hand like QsXs If he has a lone Q hes winning the pot anything less is a split (i.e. Tx). Therefore, Im going to assume [read hope] hes on a draw, yet not risk my entire stack if he does decide to hero call. I think hes on a draw as much as hes on an Ax hand, especially a monster draw QsXs Therefore, I bet ~$15-20 into $46 on the river making it look like a value bet. I think youre folding out all of the drawing hands (particularly the Qx hand which beats your playing the board) without risking him hero calling. Given the prior action, though, I just dont think hes folding an Ax hand.

  3. yanzhang

    18. Jan, 2010

    By hero-called with an A I mean hero-called with less than an A of course. I hope it is implied that I think a lot of players, good or bad, may call with an A for different reasons.

    @Poker Meister: The only monster draw that youd want to bluff out are the Q hi ones, and there are very few combinations of those and a lot more Axs. This is why I pretty much ignore those and think the question really is are you folding As.

  4. The Poker Meister

    19. Jan, 2010

    @YanZhang While agree that you want to bluff out the Q high draws, I want to bluff out all draws, since Im splitting with any non-Queen hand. I would rather take the pot whole than split it.

    I guess its a matter of how much is the pot worth to you? Is it worth throwing good money after bad in the event you have a stubborn Ace, or are you content with taking your money back minus rake?

  5. yanzhang

    19. Jan, 2010

    @Poker Meister: hmm I guess my whole point is we really arent splitting that often (i.e. there are very few draws in the range, at least compared to As), and Id argue most of his range are As. If you disagree, then let me know why because I think thats the most important issue here.

  6. Gugel

    20. Jan, 2010

    I thought about this hand for a bit and I think if the river was a blank, shoving is best. When the king rolls off on the river though, I think I have to check and give up.

    Heres my reasoning: If I actually had a jack, I wouldnt shove the river and there are almost no kings in my range. Therefore, when I shove, its most likely a bluff. Its kinda hard to say if the villain will think this logically about the hand, but there will be better spots

  7. The Poker Meister

    20. Jan, 2010

    Gugel What was the outcome?

  8. Gugel

    20. Jan, 2010

    I checked the river. Villain had ATo.

  9. jamarcus

    01. Feb, 2010

    lol @ J being a really good card to bluff.