Winning The Huge Pots Right Away

As explained in the last topic, it is very essential to camouflage your big reading hands so that your rival does not come to know what you are having because you want to get more value for them as you can. Thus, there is one unique purpose of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, which we had given a clue at: As a pot grows bigger and bigger, you always want to win it immediately. Obviously, you want your rival to play incorrectly and give away the best hand. Even if your hand were the best one, you would always prefer your rival to fold than to call when the pot is large.

The purpose is that when the pot is large and when you bet in a limit game, your rival's hand being the second best is so much of an underdog that he is not getting better odds to chase you. So, to call you with good hands is a beneficial play for him in the long run. As he is right to take the odds, you will not gain anything when he calls. If he turns down those odds, you will gain when he folds. You will lose when he calls even if you are winning that specific pot, because over the long run his call was positive expectation. It will cost you money to the end.

To Bet When Your Rival is Correct To Call

Furthermore, it would be wrong not to bet entirely with the best hand, even if you are perfectly sure that your rival would make the correct play and call. If you do not bet, you give a free chance to your rival to make the best hand. In other words, you give him the infinite odds. Suppose, your odds are 5-to-1 against you is rival making a hand that beats yours? With $150 in the pot and with $20 bet, you offer that player 8 ½-to-1 odds ($170-to-$20), so he is right to call $20. But, by not betting, you offer him infinite odds, and so he has to call zero dollars for the chance to win $150. Thus, when the pot is large even if you offer favorable odds to your rival - it is correct to bet with the best hand. If you do not bet at all, your rival's pot odds would not be favorable. At the same time, there can be an exception that he might give up and fold. (To know more about free card, see next topic.)

It is simple to win the big pots in no-limit and pot-limit games because you are able to bet almost any amount. So you can choose the odds to be given to your rival. For example, in a pot-limit game with $150 in the pot and your rival a 5-to-1 underdog, and bet the maximum $150 that allows you to offer your rival 2-to-1 odds ($300-$150) on a 5-to-1 shot. Your rival will take the worst of it, if he calls and you will be not unhappy with the call. At any time, with the best hand, you should bet a large amount so that by calling, your rival does not make the correct play. At the same time, in no-limit and pot-limit games, as seen in Chapter Seven, you must take care to bet enormously huge amount so that your rival does not get enough good implied odds to make a call correct.

As defined, in limit games you cannot bet anything what you want and it's hard to make a player to fold when the pot grows large. However, if you have the nuts, give a chance to your rival to fold and make it too costly for him to call, even when by calling he still gets favorable odds.

Bet (or Raise) to Make Your Rivals out

The most important step to win the pot is to drive your rivals out as many as possible. Suppose, you are playing seven card stud and a lot of raising has been made on the first three cards, which has made the pot bigger. You have three-of-a-kind, a strong hand and on fourth street the player to your right bets. Will you call or raise? Of course, you will raise even if you are driving out all the weaker hands behind you. Perhaps, this is the reason of your raise. You should try to win it right now when the pot enormously has become large leaving the future bets that you might win. If everybody folds after you raise, you are appreciated. If your raise succeeds in driving out the number of rivals, that's will really be good.

Many people do not think in regards to this particular situation of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, but it is important. Wishing to win the present pot immediately - even with the best hand - rely on your chances of winning if the hand continues and upon the pot odds that you give to your rivals. You should question yourself whether your rival would be correct to take those odds, in spite of knowing what you have. If so, you will make that rival fold. If not - that means, if the odds against your rival's making a winning hand were larger than the pot odds he gets - then you would rather have him call. Under such situation, instead of winning the pot right away, you tend to take a little risk that your rival may outdraw you and make an attempt to win at least one more bet. If in the above seven card stud example, instead of having three-of-a-kind, you have four of a kind, you would not put in a raise to drive people out. You are having a good hand that you would collect a few more bets with it. It's rare to chase a monster hand such as four of a kind in the first four or five cards. Having to get less than that, you should put efforts to win big pots right away instead of allowing players in cheaply or free. The pot you go after need not necessarily be gigantic, but fairly large relative to the betting structure of the game you are playing. Your rival or rivals may fold after you raise or bet, but yet you might have won another bet or two, you are still rewarded of having locked up a good-sized pot.

Bet (Or Raise) With the Second-Best Hand

There is an outcome to this principle of attempting to win the big pots right away. Naturally, when you have the best hand, you want to raise or bet to drive out as many online poker players as possible. On the other hand, if the pot is huge, it is normally desirable to do the same even if you have the doubt you have the second-best hand, especially, when you think you are not that far behind.

The example of this concept can explained in the game of razz.

Player A has

Player B has

Player C has


You have

You have four cards to an 8, and you doubt the player to your right, Player C, has four to a 6. If there are few raises on third street, developing a good-sized pot, it is essential for you to raise the 6, 4 when he comes out betting, even if his hand is better than yours and he will possibly re-raise. Why should you tend to add two bets to the pot when you doubt you do not have the best hand? The answer to this is that you want to force out the other two hands. They might call a single bet with a large pot, but in the face of a bet, a raise (and a possible re-raise), now they should fold. You succeeded to reduce to opposition to one, and you only have about 45 percent chance of winning the pot. All that extra dead money in there more than compensates your underdog position. However, including with the other players, you have only about a 30 percent chance of winning the pot.

We can have the same situation in seven card stud. You have two queens and the raising on third street has created a big pot. The player to your right has

You may have or may not have the best hand. You do not think it is, but you can be sure it is second-best and not an underdog. You may raise to drive the other players out if the player to the right with K, 9 comes out betting on fourth street . At the time, your two queens is the best hand because K, 9, is a four- flush or two 9s, you do not have to think about other players outdrawing you. However, if the K, 9 is in fact two kings, you have a good chance to win the pot against him alone than you would if you let in other players who could outdraw you even if you made queens up or three queens.

The same principle applies it in hold 'em. The player to your right bets, putting you in a position to raise instantly to make other people fold. You should make it with a good hand when the pot is large, even if you have a doubt that it might not be the best.

To Delay One Round Driving Rivals out

In advanced games, the size of the bet doubles on the third betting round - for example, from $5 to $10 in a $5-$10 game and from $10 to $20 in a $10-$20 game. In such games, you may wait till the bet doubles in size before putting in a raise - not a slowplay but the better way to drive people out. For example, if in $10-$20 game, you raise a $10 bet to $20 on the second round, some players after you may be eager to call; but if you wait till the next round to raise a $20 bet to $40, then these player will not be eager to pay the price. The great possibility of driving rivals out with a big raise on the third round of betting equalizes the cheap $10 card you permitted them on the previous round .


The basic poker concept in this chapter is a simpler one. You want to win right away when the pot is big. You should bet and raise with the best hand and you should do the same even with the second-best hand. The less the rivals you have in the pot, the more the chance of winning it, even if the chance is less than 50 percent and when the pot is large, your first priority should be to win it.