A recent thread on CP caused me to look up an old post of mine regarding optimal flop betting, which in turn inspired me to re-read some of Chen and Ankenman's book. Reading the section on the river play made me think: am I playing optimally enough?
A couple made up situations:
1) Say I raise in the CO and the button calls. Flop comes KdQc6d. I bet and get called. I bet the 4h turn and get called. The river comes the 2d. I bet 1/3 the pot.
2) Same preflop action. Flop is JT5 rainbow. I bet pot and get called. Turn is a 6 and it goes check/check. River is a 4 and I check. Opponent bets 4x the pot.
Hand 1: In this situation, I am almost always going to show up with something like KQ, AK, KJ or maybe a set.
Hand 2: My range is fairly wide here, but almost never will I show up with the nuts.
The problem here is that if my opponents have a good idea of how I play, they can take advantage of me far too often.
These are two very specific problems that I have with optimizing my play. Specifically, I will block the river often with a hand that was made much weaker by a dangerous river card (as seen in hand 1) and I almost never check-raise the river with a monster.
What I need to change in my game is to vary my play in spots like these. I need to occasionally make a small bet on the river with a nut flush that hits if I'm going to bet my marginal hands. I also need to occasionally go for a check-raise when I miracle my way into a monster. In both of these situations, it is apparent to an intelligent opponent that I won't be showing up with a great hand given the action in both of these hands. This allows him to raise or overbet the pot with impunity, fearless of me showing up with the joint.
It's disgusting how hard you have to work at this game to even play it at a decent level.