A little trick I've been exploiting more and more lately is the art of "bluff catching." A bluff catch is checking on the river with a strong hand in the hopes that your opponent will sense weakness and take a stab at the pot. The success of the play depends strongly on the nature of the villain (i.e., his aggressiveness), plus the likelihood that he has a reasonable hand and/or a draw that ended up missing, but he thinks you missed, too. I played the following hand this morning and, when we got to the river, I asked myself if the opp was going to call with a worse hand. The answer seemed to be "no," but I wasn't sure. My set was almost certainly the best hand, but betting may not have gotten the most money out of the opp. Instead, checking, with the intention of raising, seemed to be the best approach:
Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (9 handed) - Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com
Hero (SB) ($38.74)
Preflop: Hero is SB with K♠, K♥
2 folds, MP1 calls $0.25, 4 folds, Hero bets $1.25, 1 fold, MP1 calls $1
Flop: ($2.75) A♥, 6♦, K♣ (2 players)
Hero bets $2.25, MP1 calls $2.25
Turn: ($7.25) 9♦ (2 players)
Hero bets $7.25, MP1 calls $7.25
River: ($21.75) J♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, MP1 bets $15, Hero raises to $27.99 (All-In), 1 fold
Total pot: $51.75 | Rake: $2.58
Hero didn't show K♠, K♥ (nothing).
Outcome: Hero won $49.17
All-in for now...