You want to be called

This is the most important subsection in the chapter, if not the whole edition.

What I wrote in the previous paragraphs (about betting only when you want to be called) is absolutely true, and it's important to understand. But in the first edition, I didn't stress the following point enough:

Bet the river

Having read and followed the advice in this book and others like it, you are going to be playing premium hands. Your opponents will be playing premium hands and non-premium hands. In some cases they'll be playing junk. So most of the time when you get to the river and you've been betting for value the whole way, keep betting. This does not invalidate the dictum of only betting when you want to be called; the point is that you will constantly be called by worse hands.

The most profitable instance of this concept is when you're betting top pair with a big kicker, and your opponent is calling with top pair, smaller kicker.2 Time after time, he will call, look at your cards, and say, "Good kicker" as he throws his hand away.

And sometimes he'll call with almost nothing because he can't stand the idea that you might be stealing the pot, even though nobody has seen you bluff since last Thursday.

Sometimes he will have no alternative but to fold. Then he goes crazy, because what if it was this time that you were stealing?3

2Dominated hand theory again.

3You will almost assuredly get called the next time.

If you get check-raised in this situation, you can almost always throw away a single pair, calling just enough to remind your opponents that you're not guaranteed to do so. But that's not what happens most of the time — most of the time they say, "Nice hand" and you win the pot.

So, in the words of one of my mentors: "Close your eyes and fling your chips out there."

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