There is a major mistake that players make, often even without realizing it. The mistake is giving up pots that would win by not calling on the river. Some players pride themselves on being able to lay down a good hand on the river. This is a good skill to possess. Being able to know where your opponent is and save yourself money by not needing him to show you the cards that beat you is in fact a good thing. However, players often lay down winning hands either because they misread their opponent or haven’t even tried to read their opponent. Folding the winning hand is a bigger mistake than calling with a losing one. Follow proper poker strategy to win poker games.
There are often many reasons why a player might bet or raise at a pot. Because Players Follows Proper poker strategy. Many of these reasons have little to do with whether they actually think they have the best hand or not. If you never call an opponent down with a weak or moderate hand, you’re likely giving away too many pots. One of the most common times this can happen is when two players are on a draw. One player is betting their draw hoping it will come in. The other player is hoping to catch their winning cards, without really caring what the other player has. They both miss. The aggressive bettor fires again at the pot with a bluff. Without even thinking, the second player throws the winning hand away because they missed their draw.
Look at a little math problem to help explain why folding a winner can be such a mistake. Let’s say you’re playing in a $2/$4 Hold’em game where the pot has reached $40 on the river. It will cost you $4 to call an opponent’s last bet.
You figure you are 80% sure you will lose if you call and have a 20% chance to win against a bluff or weaker hand, so you fold. Sounds like you made the right decision, but you didn’t. If this situation occurred 10 times during the night. And you folded all 10 of those times, you have lost no additional money. (than what you already put in the pot). If you call all 10 of those times, you will lose $4 eight of those times, costing you an extra $32. But the two times you actually win, you pick up the pots worth $40 each, for a profit over the 10 hands of $48, just for calling the river.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, there are times where you need to fold on the river. You can’t always call. But any time you think you might have a chance to win the pot, it’s probably correct to call the last bet. It is also important to note that this is primarily referring to those times when there are two of you left in the hand.