Top 10 turn and river moves from Mitchell Cogert’s Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

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In this series of top 10 lists I have selected top moves from Mitchell Cogert’s “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves”. I believe these moves have the largest probability of improving your chances of winning low to medium stakes online poker tournaments.

Top 10 lists in this series:

Top 10 preflop moves

Top 10 flop moves

Top 10 turn and river moves

Mitchell Cogert is the author of “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves.” It is the only reference book to reveal the plays the Pros use to win a poker tournament. These plays are based on reviewing 20 years worth of tournament poker strategies and by actual play against Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, David Pham and other top pros. The book is available on Amazon and rated 5 out of 5 stars by customers. Find out more about Mitchell Cogert by visiting Tournament Poker or his website APokerExpert.


Top 10 turn and river moves

Stack sizes are one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to make a move on the turn or the river. If the opponent you are up against has a large stack compared to yours and the blinds in general he is more likely to call any bet you make. Similarly, if your opponent has a significantly smaller stack than yours he will most likely be pot committed to call your bets. The best spot for making moves is when both you and your opponent have similar stack sizes that are significantly larger than the current size of the big blind. In my opinion, significantly larger in this context are stack sizes above 20 times the big blind.

  • The delayed continuation bet

You raise preflop with two high cards but don’t hit a pair on the flop. By checking the flop behind your opponents you raise suspicion in their minds. They were expecting a standard continuation bet, but instead you checked. Could you be slow playing a monster hand? When a harmless turn card hits you are now in a great position to steal the pot.

  • The Action-Inducing bet

If you hit the nuts or another great hand on the turn then making a small bet compared to the size of the pot will give your opponents the impression that you are weak. This will sometimes lure them into making a large re raise or even pushing all in.

  • The blocking bet

The blocking bet can be used on the turn as well as on the flop. I already mentioned the blocking bet in my previous list of top 10 flop moves. Here’s what I wrote:

Say you called a preflop raiser out of position with a drawing hand such as 89 suited. The flop comes A J 7 with one card in your suit. You have an inside straight draw and a backdoor flush opportunity. By making a small blocking bet as the first to act on the flop, you aim to slow down your opponent and either get a cheap turn card or if you’re lucky make your opponent fold. If he raised preflop with pocket 10’s, pocket Q’s or even pocket K’s, he might interpret your blocking bet as if you have hit your Ace and aim to suck some chips out of him. Your defensive blocking bet has a better chance of succeeding if your opponents have seen you make the same size bet earlier when you have hit a big hand.

When you make a blocking bet on the turn you are aiming to slow down your opponent and see a cheap river card. Sometimes you get lucky and your blocking bet wins you the pot.

  • Firing the Second Barrel

Don’t be afraid to bet again on the turn as the preflop raiser if your opponent called your flop bet. He might be on a draw, have a middle pair or he might be floating and hoping to steal the pot if you show weakness on the turn. Be wary  of firing the second barrel if a scare card such as a flush card or a straight card hits.

  • Bet when opponents are weak

If your opponents have checked the flop and check to you on the turn as well they are most likely weak. Bet to pick up the pot.

  • Bet when a scare card appears

If a scare card hits on the turn you can use it to your advantage to steal the pot by betting or re-raising your opponent. Depending on the texture of the flop, any Ace, King, straight or flush card may be a card you can use to win the pot. I would only use this move if you are up against one opponent. Betting when a scare card hits requires both skill and courage. Skill, because you need to be able to put your opponent on a hand range in order to determine what cards might be scare cards. Courage, because you are representing a strong hand which you do not have and if you misread the situation you could look like a fool.

  • The naked Ace bluff

If you hold an Ace in the same suit as a suited board you can use this information to represent the nut flush. You can do this by checking the flop and raising any bet on the turn. Since no one else has the Ace they will have a hard time calling with top pair or a lower flush. If they do call you still have outs to win the hand.

  • When you hold a pair and get raised on the turn think fold

Usually players will not raise a bet on the turn if they cannot beat top pair (unless of course they are betting due to a scare card hitting). If you have top pair, your flop bet has been called and your turn bet is raised you are most likely either beat or have run into an opponent with big cojones. Remember that a good fold is a good thing. However, if you suspect you have been outplayed make a note about your opponent and pay attention to his future betting patterns.

  • When folding is clearly the right play

Don’t fall in love with big pairs. If you raise preflop, get three callers and they all call your bet on the flop alarm bells should be ringing inside your head. If a scare card hits on the turn you can be sure that one of your three opponents hit his draw.

  • The River value bet

Poker in a nutshell is to get your opponents to call you with worse hands and fold with better hands. Keep this in mind when deciding what bet size to use on the river. If you are convinced you are ahead choose a bet size which you feel confident your opponent will call. If you are not sure you are ahead go for a small blocking/value bet.

  • Getting paid off on the river

When you have the nuts on the river do not expect that a small bet is more likely to be called than a larger bet. Your opponents will be expecting you to make a small bet if you have the nuts. Instead try making a big bet or moving all in. To some opponents this will signal that you are trying to steal the pot     and make them call your bet if they have a piece of the board.
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