What is a river in poker, and how should you play it?

In poker, the river is the last betting round. The fifth (and last) communal card is dealt during the river. Following the conclusion of the betting rounds, the showdown occurs, in which all surviving players expose their cards and the winner is determined.
The pot has already grown very large by the time the river happens, so any miscalculation is expensive. The river is sometimes seen as the last opportunity to “remove” an opponent from the game before the showdown by bluffing and collecting his pot.
During the river, all players become aware of their precise hand and place their final bets.
The following objectives are pursued on the river:
Increasing the pot – A player who believes he has the best hand and that no opponent can defeat it tries to raise the pot as much as possible.
Value betting entails calculating a raise in such a manner that the opponent calls it.
Wager-raise – a player places a modest bet and then waits for his opponent to raise it. Then comes the re-raise, which considerably increases the size of the pot.
Winning without a showdown – If the player does not have a good hand, he or she may be able to win the pot by making a big raise that no opponent will be prepared to call.
Minimize your losses – if you’re not confident your bluff will succeed and your hand isn’t the greatest to add money to the pot, fold. Check-folding or bet-folding will ensure that your losses are minimal.
Showdown with low costs – a player wants to spend as little chips on showdown as possible, indicating that he is unsure he has a stronger hand than his opponent.

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