Controlling the pot in Texas Hold’em

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Posted on: April 20, 2020 8:40 pm EDT

Learning how to set the pace of the hand can make or break a chip stack

A poker player can never go wrong by controlling the pot, no matter if it is the most experienced professional poker player or just a rookie trying to gain a spot in the table. Controlling the pot can be an effective strategy that often ensures success, at least as an approach to a successful outcome. It is not just a matter of deciding when to play a major pot or not – doing it requires considering all scenarios that can decide the player’s advancement. There is more than one technique that can be applied to help gain and maintain control.

As a rule of thumb, the idea of pot control is basic: to steal a pot when you have a decent hand in a game, but also stick to smaller pots when the hand is weaker. The trickiest thing to learn regarding this is knowing when you have a decent hand in comparison to the opponents, as well as for deciding to go with a pot control strategy for a value bet or not.

There are many factors to consider when dealing with your chip stack and it is inseparably connected to great pot control. Most hands rely on the flop, but it is not the most important action during a hand. In the best-case scenario, you can get a decent hand with just the pot, but it is not always how things play out. In any case, both scenarios can be used in favor of controlling the pot.

It’s even better if you have an ideal position in the hand. The first one to make a move falls in a dominating player role, and you can check anticipation from other players and try to take similar actions. This strategy can be used even if the hand is a little weak. If the flop is bringing good odds, then you can continue betting, depending on the other players’ reactions. There is also the option of check-call and wait to see what other players do, in case the hand is not a winner one.