What separates good poker players from the great ones? The way that they have mastered the skill of controlling the pot. Great players follow the dictum: small hand – small pot, big hand – big pot.
When you have a strong hand, your objective should be to build the pot in order to win big. Knowing how to size bets correctly is always difficult for most players. To get better at it, you must practice the skill in your game, whether you are participating in a competition or playing for cash.
How should a player apply such a strategy? Read on to find out the basics of controlling the pot in order to make profitable decisions.
What Is Pot Control in Poker?
Pot control is simply a concept where you manage the size of your pot in order to avoid mistakes. You can manipulate the size of the pot based on the strength of your hand. You can check or call whenever you’ve got a medium-strength hand and betting or raising in cases you have a monster.
In poker, there are times you may feel in full control where you make the bets, checks, and raises, and in that case, you may want to determine the size of the pot. Other times, you may feel that you do not have full control of the pot, and you do not know how to escape. The goal of pot control is to ensure your hand is always in the first example.
When to Implement Pot Control
Before you use pot control, you must figure out how strong your hand is in comparison with your opponent. While it’s always hard to tell for sure where you stand, you can still have an idea of your chances. This will help you determine how large or small to make your pot.
For instance, in case you have a set, and you face a calling station, you are more likely to increase your pot and make huge bets and raises. If you’ve got top pair and you face a tight player, you may need to make your pot small to get value but also avoid getting all-in. This is because being in a large pot with a top pair will, in most times, put you in bad shape.
When playing Poker, players use different strategies to try to deceive you. Therefore, if you can’t figure out where you stand, it’s advisable to keep your pot small. Making your pot bigger when you have no idea what your opponent’s hand is relative to yours is a call for disaster.
Keeping the Pot Small
Poker is a game of skills. Therefore, you should have a strategy for building the pot or keeping it small. The best approach when you want to keep your pot down is to skip a betting round.
Usually, the bets in pot-limit poker increase exponentially after each betting round.
Let’s say you may bet 3BB before the flop. This will become 6BB on the flop and then 20BB on the turn and maybe something like 60BB on the river. By skipping the 60BB round, you will end up losing 29BB instead of the total 89BB.
It will be easier to skip a bet when in late position. By raising before the flop, you allow the players who act before you on the flop to check to you. This provides you with a chance to check behind and have control of the pot size.
Once in control, you can choose to skip the bets on the river and turn. Alternatively, you can bet if your opponent checks again.
In case you are in an early position, check and wait for your opponent’s move while hoping they check behind. Check-calling is better than betting. Then you end up facing a re-raise.
The easiest way to master these moves is by practicing them in games, especially online. Online poker games provide you with more control and give you less pressure making them the best avenues to develop and master strategies.
There are many places you can play Poker online as part of the practice or for making money. OnlineCasinoGems.com is one of the sites that curates best poker rooms online with the first-class experience.
Increasing the Pot Size
You can build the pot for your strong hand to get better rewards. To do that, you must keep on betting while ensuring that a bet round is not checked down. Building the pot is difficult because your opponent will always strive to protect his stack.
Therefore, you should have a strategy in place to aid you in making important decisions throughout the game. Making a great choice when it matters the most is what will enable you to come out successfully.
When you are in a prime position, make sure you avoid slow playing your big hand. If your opponent checks behind you, you may never get to make the 60BB bet on the river. Therefore, whenever you are in a leading position, you would want to bet most of the time.
In the case of a late position, your best move should depend on the situation. You have to go ahead and bet if it’s checked.
If the early position decides to bet into you, you should make a move that will get more chips in the pot. If you think the opponent will call a raise, you can proceed and raise. But if you feel the opponent will fold a raise, you can flat call to make him think you are weak, which will make him bet.
The Final Thoughts
Pot controlling is poker game play that is often overlooked. Most players concentrate on board textures and range compositions, forgetting the importance of bet size. Controlling bet size will help you make profitable decisions that will assist you in managing your losses and increasing winnings.
Every player’s priority is to get value. Get your pot size right, and it will be a matter of time before you join the club of the great ones.