Control the size of the boat
Poker tips

Control the size of the boat

Controlling the size of the pot or “pot control” is a fundamental resource in the Texas Holdem poker strategy . In a very general way, it is about adjusting the size of the boat according to your needs. So we want to increase the boat when we are in a situation of superiority and try to prevent it from increasing too much when we are in inferiority .

In Texas Holdem poker the jackpot is a very important factor to take into account, its size will influence our decisions, and having it controlled will help us a lot to get the most out of it or the minimum damage in any case. From this concept of control of the boat, others related to the boat emerge: “pot bets”, “pot odds”, “pot commited”. Here we will focus on the one of “pot control” in general.

Therefore our strategy to play Texas Holdem will always have to go hand in hand with the size of the boat. We can distinguish two situations: want the boat to grow or not according to whether we think we have the best hand or not. If we think we have the best hand we should try to grow the boat, however if we do not think about it but we want to continue in the hand we should try to increase the boat as little as possible.

To try to increase the boat without throwing our or our opponents we must assess whether or not they will fit a re-shaped and of what size according to each situation.

Here we are going to focus on the opposite situation, in which we wish to continue in the hand but possibly without the best hand . It seems clear that this is solved by spending time and paying back (Check-Call), but this is not always the best solution since there are times when taking the initiative will allow you to control the boat through control bets .

These control bets or block calls also consist of having the boat controlled with the minimum expense.

Take the example of having an intermediate couple with a project, a couple in hand with top cards on the table, or even a high table pair but with a loose kicker (our highest card). There are several solutions for these cases according to our position at the table and according to the round we are contesting.

Flop talking

In this way, if we were in the flop talking first, we could make a decent bet (half of the pot or a little less) that blocks the possible rise of our rival in most cases. If our rival paid us, we could continue betting on the next round, demonstrating strength and taking the initiative. This fact will surely intimidate our rival, and it will surely result in us also leaving the initiative in the last round thinking that we are going to bet again. This is very important since in the last round the most notable bets usually occur. In any case we will only bet if we have the conviction of having the best hand, and we will not expose ourselves to a possible rise that forces us to throw the cards.

On the river

If we are directly on the river and we speak first without the security of having the best hand but with something decent, we can assess the option of placing a blocking bet as long as we do not think that our opponent has a maximum play with which we are going to re-cover With this control bet we will block a possible rise in our rival, and what is also very important, we will make the bet for him, being surely ours much lower than the hypothetical of his. In this way we would be saving a good amount of chips.

Ultimately , control bets in Texas Holdem poker are very useful for controlling the jackpot , although they always carry the risk of being resurfaced, which would be a great task and that they will probably force to throw the cards, unless our job reading say the opposite.


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