You open with AA and are called by an aggressive opponent. The flop comes the Jd-9c-8d. You fire, and he calls. The turn is the 3c, you fire again, and he calls. The river comes the 4h. Should you bet again?

When you’re heads-up on draw-heavy boards against aggressive opponents, you’ve bet, and the draws missed, and your opponents’ calling range on the flop/turn included many draws, don’t value bet the river out of position.

Since he can’t call with his missed draw hands, and the ratio of drawing hands to calling hands in his range is weighted toward the missed drawing hands, give him an opportunity to bluff his whiffed draws. The more aggressive and bluff-happy your opponent is, the greater the strength of the play. The more passive, call prone, and bluff adverse your opponent, the more you should be inclined to value-bet.

Conceptually: When the overall value you will lose from the hands he would check that he would have called a river bet with and you would have won, is less than the overall value of the bets he will bluff and you will call with, you should check and call. Simply put, you should check and call when you gain more from inducing bluffs than you lose by not value betting.

I understand this is often hard to calculate at the table. Because this situation occurs frequently, this knowledge has significant value. It’s not uncommon for aggressive opponents to bet many of their whiffed draws on the river. And since those bets are river bets, their value is often high.

So induce them to bet. And don’t chicken out and fold. You’ll find yourself obtaining better value on the river.

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