In no-limit Texas hold ’em, “pot control” refers to the ability to influence the size of the pot. The concept of “pot control” is one of the most important things I’ve learned about poker. Mastering the art of pot control is not a walk in the park, but it pays well in the end.
This whole idea can sound vague at first, but we’ll explain it with some examples. But consider this: there are moments in poker when you feel absolutely in charge of the action. You feel in control of the game because you decide how much money goes into the pot through your bets, raises, checks, and folds.
There are additional situations in poker where the size of the pot may seem unmanageable. Sometimes this still occurs to me. Suddenly, you realize that you have a weak hand and are trapped in a large pot with no obvious way out. Every hand you play should provide the impression of the first scenario, rather than the second, to maintain pot control.
When to Use Weed Killer
The first step in using pot control is establishing the relative strength of your hand and your opponent’s. Even if you don’t know exactly where you stand, you can at least get a general idea. Once you know that, you can decide how big or small you want the pot to be. Case in point:
Be aggressive with your betting and raising against a calling station if you hold a set. In this instance, you should put as much money as possible into the pot.
Top pair against a tight player is a tricky spot; you want to maximize your return without going all-in if possible. You’re up against a tight opponent, so you’re probably not going to fare well if you enter a big pot holding top pair.
Keep the pot size manageable if you are unsure about your position. It’s a bad idea to get into huge pots without knowing the contents of your opponent’s hand. Even if you don’t know where you stand, the concept of pot control can help.
Pot Control: How to Use It
Pick a cooking pot size that suits your needs and stick with it. It all comes down to how much you’re willing to put on the line when it comes to implementing pot control. Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll be in a better position to control the pot’s size.
Remember that pot control starts at the beginning of the hand. The pot will rise rapidly if you raise before the flop and bet on the flop. A single pot-sized gamble on the river may send you out of the game entirely. Successful weed management requires some forethought.
Let’s imagine you’re playing an average opponent you’ve never faced before and you have the top pair top kicker. In terms of skill, this opponent seems around average. Playing for a moderate pot size may seem appealing in this case.
Making big bets on the flop, turn, and river will put you in position to win a large pot. The situation can quickly shift and become out of your hands if your opponent decides to raise. There are a couple of strategies to play this hand for a reduced pot that don’t involve shooting all three barrels.
Making a bet on the flop, another bet on the turn, and a check-call on the river is one of my favorite plays when holding a hand like top pair. Opponents at lower stakes tables often check the flop and turn with weak hands before betting on the river if you check to them. This straightforward move can secure you a respectable pot without exposing you to any danger.
I also like to bet the flop, check the turn, and then bet the river in certain circumstances. This line of betting suggests a poor hand that c-bet the flop and then folded to the turn. You make a wager on the river when your opponent checks on the turn. Calls will come from a wide variety of hands, all hoping to steal the pot from you.
Keep in mind that these are only a few instances of pot control in poker. Manipulating the size of the pot can be approached from a million different angles. To continue in any situation, you must keep these concepts in mind and consciously think about the size of the pot.
In poker, your opponent’s actions are always out of your hands. Large bets and raises from your opponents might occasionally force you out of the pot. You always have the option to fold if you’re not happy with the direction of the hand.