Professor PPI: Pot Control Less
PPI POKER Ambassador Pedro Oliveira provides this month’s strategy tips.
One of the most dated plays in No Limit Hold’em is pot control. The sooner you remove this play from your arsenal the sooner you will start making more money.
Granted, in the old days there were many good reasons to pot control. If you continuation bet versus random opponents, they would randomly checkraise. They would checkraise pairs to see where they were at. They would checkraise bluff because your C-bet made them angry. They would checkraise sets and big hands because they wanted money.
While some of these checkraises made no sense in a vacuum, they did make continuation bets more dangerous. For this reason, many poker players started experimenting by checking back top pairs and second pairs on the flop. These hands were unlikely to be outdrawn on safe boards and they were ideal for medium-sized pots.
Additionally, opponents back then would see a check and go: “Oh, great… He has nothing!” They would mindlessly fire turn and river, allowing us to collect value easily with our good pair.
Sadly, these days are largely over. If you check back on an A-4-6 board in position, many players will rightly assume you’re pot controlling with an ace.
However, there is no more value in betting that board with A-9o. In the old days, K-high would never call on that board. In 2017, people call with K-high and sometimes Q-high.
Furthermore, there’s no need to be nervous about being checkraised. Many players would not checkraise that board anymore, because they would be worried about how few hands they are representing.
For the same reasons we should bet more flops (additional value, keeping our range wide), we should also bet more turns. If we bet the turn, while our continuation bet will be thin, it will allow us to stay in control.
Very few of our opponents will checkraise the turn as a bluff as much as they should. They are likely to call with pairs, checkraise their new two pairs, and check/fold their weaker range. Even better, if they do call they will check the river 98% of the time. This allows to go for a third value bet if we want or to just check back if we want to make this a two-street game.
See? The real way to pot control these days is to go ahead and bet the flop, while staying in position.
Don’t cap your range. Fire out bets and trust that too many players are uneducated in regards to checkraise bluffing correctly.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other topic, please do not hesitate to contact Pedro or any other PPI Ambassador via https://ppipoker.com/ask-the-pros.