In deep stack situations in no limit hold’em cash games then pot control is an essential part of the game. This is because there are times where your hand strength simply does not merit the pot becoming too large.
Like for example if you open raise with A-Js and both blinds call you. The flop comes A-Q-6 with two suits and you c-bet and get two callers.
The turn card is the 9h which doesn’t make the flush but you bet again and you get called again by both players. The river card is the 4h which still doesn’t put the flush on board but the small blind bets the pot……what do you do?
Defining Your Poker Hand
Well a pre-flop raise begins the process of defining the hand because you are already starting to escalate the pot. You raise before the flop for different reasons but one of those reasons whether you realise it or not is to build the pot.
This is fine if you have the best hand or can get your opponent out of the pot with them having the best hand because in both cases you make money. But these pots are usually small to medium pots but when the pot escalates with you having just one or two pair and it looks like it is shaping up for an all-in situation then this is where you can start to have problems.
However your stronger opponents will suspect that when you check that you are slipping into pot control mode because they have seen you either keep on betting when you have the goods or keep on betting when you are bluffing.
Very Effective Poker Strategy
Pot control is a very effective strategy for novice and intermediate poker players because it prevents them from making very big mistakes in escalated pots. This is a pivotal stage for novice players because the biggest leak for them at the outset of their poker lives is that they make big errors in deep stacked situations too frequently.
So when you play at higher levels then you need to mix up your play by value betting on lighter holdings so that your opponents cannot exploit a polarised range.