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Facing a River Bet After Missing Your Flush Draw

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Facing a River Bet After Missing Your Flush Draw
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  • How do you respond to a river bet when your flush draw missed? @LearnWPT analyzes the situation.

  • Your flush draw missed. Now your opponent bets the river. @LearnWPT evaluates this common situation.

DECISION POINT: In a cash game, two early position players call, and you call as well from middle position with {J-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. The button calls, the small blind folds, and the big blind checks.

The flop comes {7-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{4-Clubs}. The big blind bets, UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 calls, you call, and the button folds. The turn is the {9-Clubs}. The big blind bets again, UTG+2 calls, and you call as well. The river is the {A-Clubs}. The big blind bets one more time, and UTG+2 folds. The action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: We called preflop, on the flop, and on the turn with correct odds to draw. We missed on the river and the player in the big blind bets again into the field.

Some players are tempted to bluff too often when their draws miss, especially when another draw comes in that can be represented (in this case, a backdoor club flush).

Here we have an opponent who bet postflop on all three streets into multiple opponents. Players who do this rarely hold a hand that they consider weak and will often call a raise from us, even though we could have a club flush.

One of the benefits of calling with correct pot odds or implied odds with your draws is that you do not need to bluff with a high frequency when your draw misses. Your draws will regularly miss and you must be capable of simply folding, especially when it's likely that your opponent holds a hand that he or she considers strong.

If you have fired multiple bullets with a big draw that misses on the river, you could consider betting again as a third barrel against a single opponent. In this case, however, you were not the aggressor and were calling down.

Folding is the best play.

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