No-Limit Hold'em: SSS - The River

On the river there are generally no further actions for the short stack strategy demonstrated here, as we have either folded before or are already all-in. From time to time there are exceptions, however.

Pre-flop aggressor

If we were the pre-flop aggressor and still have chips left on the river, we don't have too many options. The strategy to be deployed for the turn and river is almost identical:

  • All trash hands are folded or checked and thrown away against a bet of an opponent.
  • If we have a made hand on the river, we go all-in.
  • If we don't have a made hand on the river, we should fold. Drawing hands no longer exist because no more community cards will be dealt, so we cannot rely on further help from the board.

Former drawing hands have either become trash hands or made hands on the river.
Opponents will notice if you always go all-in instead of making a normal bet, but this depends on the size of your own stack. When playing correctly pre-flop,on the flop and turn, your own chip stack during the river phase will simply be too small for you to be able to bet normally, so you should always go all-in straight away.

Free play

If you have at least top pair and are first to act, you should bet half of the size of the pot. If a player bets before or raises after you, you should respond with an all-in.



That was a comprehensive explanation of the short stack strategy and you should now be able to play profitable poker with a short stack. You need to internalize this strategy as a basis for developing your game and to make sure you can build your bankroll. You should only think about changing and adapting your playing style when you have enough experience. It's never a mistake to stick to this strategy and use it consistently as it can even be used profitably at the higher limits.

We will also introduce and explain the much more complex big stack strategy. Here, the option of calling, the big stacks, the opponents' behaviour and, in particular, the turn and river play are much more important.

But for now, just enjoy playing the short stack strategy!