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Why Play Pot Limit
Comparing Pot-Limit
Poker's Ten
You Playing Style
How Deep Are You
Taking The Initiative
Drawing Hand's
Reading The Opponent
The Art of Bluffing
Betting The Bully
No Limit Play
All In Coups


Using The Material
Pot-Limit & No-Limit
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 5-10
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 11-20
Pot-Limit Omaha
Pot-Limit Omaha Q/A
Seven-Card Stud
Lowball Draw
Key Pot-Limit
London Lowball Q/A
High Low Split
High Low Split Q/A
Strip Deck Poker




The amount of money in front of the players has a profound influence on the betting. The deeper the money, the greater the implication that a player has a strong hand when he raises. His raise also exerts greater leverage, because the amount that may be put at risk in further betting must be considered. Naturally, this intensifies the psychological aspects of the situation as well. Position greatly increases in importance with large stacks of chips. It would be improper to construct a big-bet poker problem and not state how much money was in front of each player.

      Let us look at a no-limit hold’em game and see how the amount of money in front of us and out opponent affects out decision when we raise a pot and get reraised. Assume the game has a $25 minimum bring-in, we open for $100, and get repopped.

  1. We and the opponent both started with $200, so the reraise is $100 more all-in. This is the easiest situation in poker. We don’t bother to look at out hand, or analyze what the opponent might have. We just put the money in and see who wins. You are too deeply involved to fold.
  2. We and the opponent both started with $350, so the raise is $250 more all-in.  Here the raise is about the size of the pot. If I were trying to steal with a Q-J (suited or not) my inclination would be to fold. On any legitimate raising hand, such as an A-Q suited or a pair of 10’s, I would call.
  3. We and the opponent both started with $900, so the raise is $500 more all-in. The fact that my opponent overbet the pot size to move in is not of all that great consequence as to what he holds. In fact, had he only raised us $200 more rather than going all-in, it might well be a more dangerous situation. In the latter case, it might look as if he were treading lightly to induce a call. Of course, a lot depends on who the opponent is in deducing what sort of poker psychology he might be using.  In the actual problem, even though the opponent might well not have a big pair, we are not so committed to the pot. It is time to start looking carefully at what we hold, who raised us, the psychology involved, and other such factors. My inclination would be to require a solid hand such as A-K or J-J to call.
  4. We both start the hand with a grand; the opponent raises my $100 bet $250 more, so he has another $650 left. Beware! This differs night an day from the situation where we were raised $250 more all-in. In the present circumstance, the opponent is very likely to hold a big hand. There is no hand that I would call him with. My only choices are to either fold or raise. I would be too far into the pot to be throwing my hand away for the bet on the flop, because the last $650 would be equal to or less than the pot size if I call his raise. To play for all my money, I would almost surely have either aces or kings (which are the likely hands for may opponent to hold).
  5. We both start the hand with three thousand dollars. The opponent reraises my $100 raise $250 more, so there is now $2,650 left enough for two more raises. Strangely, there is actually a greater chance that your opponent is fooling around here than is the previous situation. He is risking a much lower percentage of his stack, and the intimidation factor is even greater. Nevertheless, it is foolish to reraaise him on kings or queens here. There is only one hand that is a through  ticket for all your money; aces. Look at the situation this way: If you reraise with kings, how could your opponent possibly make a mistake? He will go all-in with aces, and fold everything else. It is better to call with kings, and try to make some money in poker with them if they’re good. To reraise, you need aces – or a bluff.

         Now that we have talked about how the size of your stack affects heads-up play, let’s talk about multihanded situations. Suppose in a hold’em game player A opens for a raise to $100, and player B raises $250 more, making the total bet $350 to you. To fully understand the situation, you need to know how much money is in front of each opponent. For example, suppose player A had $350, and player B $1,000. It is quite possible that player B only had in mind taking a race against player A for $350, and is not prepared to play for his whole stack. The situation would be quite different if player A also had a grand. Whether your stack is $200, $500, or $1,000, it is still necessary to consider how much player B though he was going to be playing for when he reraised.

         Akin to this idea is the situation where you have raised the pot have many callers. Suppose you have two aces, and after the flop hits, the first player leads through you with a medium-sized bet. Even though you think those aces are still the best hand, it would be dangerous, and probably incorrect, for you to raise with the whole field yet to be heard from. Beware of bushwhackers. This is especially important when you have a lot of money, the bettor or raiser only has a small stack, but someone else with a live hand is deep in dough.

         Should you lead right out with a big hand, or look for a poker check-raise? A major factor affecting your decision is the depth of the money. Suppose at hold’em you are  heads-up against a raiser, and fortunately flop a set of trips. What is the best way to nail him for his whole stack? Let us assume there is $250 in the pot. We will look at three situations:
(Ι) You each have $250 left. It is almost surely right to check and hope the opponent moves all-in. If he also checks, he will wonder whether a future bet by you shows a good hand or simply has assumed weakness on his part because he checked.
(∏) You each have $1,000 left. Here it is still probably better to check, intending to raise him all-in if he bets. (Checking and calling, a broken wing act, is also a consideration.) Note that if he bets the size of the pot, a raise the size of the pot will put you all-in. In this sequence the opponent does not know if you have a big hand or are simply willing to go all-in with a moderate hand.

(Ш) You each have $3,000 left. Here a check-raise clearly shows the ability to play for big money, and enables the opponent to get away from his hand cheaply. A better chance to double to is usually to lead out into the opponent. This works especially well when there is a potential draw available such as a two-flush on the board. A lot of players will raise you here if they hold a big pair. This gets them so deeply involved that they may well go for it when you move in on them. Leading right out with a topnotch hand is often the better play when the money is very deep. This also helps protect you against the opponent picking off a miracle card such as a gutshot straight, which is hard on both your poker bankroll and your equanimity.
         As we see, the amount of money in front of you and your opponent is often a critical factor in determining whether to play and how to play. This is a major difference between limit poker and big-bet poker. It is the reason why a player is entitled to ask, “How deep are you?” before he acts on his hand.


         The depth of the money also determines your strategy when you have a drawing hand. Often the direct odds you are offered are inadequate, but the implied odds give you a reason to call. For other aspects, see t “Poker implied-odds-probability-poker.html.”
         This is easiest to understand in hold’em. You hold 7-6. Perhaps you have stuck your neck out and raised. Anyway, a player has raised and you are certain he has a reasonable hand. You are the only two players in the pot. Should you call?
         Clearly, if the raise is all-in, then 2 to 1 for your money is inadequate. The general rule of thumb that professionals seem to use for such a call is you want the potential to win about twenty times the current bet you are facing. Of course, it won’t help if you are facing a $100 bet have $2000 yourself, but the adversary has short money. Your opponent must be playing on at least $2000.

         This should give you an idea why some people like to conceal how deep they are. If they can obscure the facts, you may make the incorrect strategic decision. Thus, these players like to play with bills rather than chips. Only poker chips play in London for this reason. Even then, sometimes players may hide their large chips. Naturally, you don’t want to show too much interest in how deep your opponent is, as that could be giving away too much information.
         The reason you need to be able to win so much in hold’em is because it is so difficult to hit your hand. Matters are quite different in Omaha poker. Consider a hand like 9-8-6-5 unsuited. You can certainly call a bet from aces double-suited with equanimity. The hand you most fear is 9-8-6-5 double-suited, which gives the opponent a total freeroll. And a hand such as 10-9-8-7 could put you in bad shape on a lot of flops.

         Seven-card stud is different again. Holding 8-7-3 suited with live cards against a raiser is an easy call at limit. At pot-limit with only you and the raiser left it should normally be discarded. If you make you four-flush next card, you may still have to face a series of large bets. On each of your next two upcards, the opponent can see whether you have made a possible flush, and act accordingly.  He can fold when you catch a three-flush on board and bet the size of the pot when you do not.  However deep you are, the money is still likely to run out before you make your hand if you keep calling. Note that it the opponent bets the size of the pot with only one more card to come, you will be getting such a bad price on your flush-draw that it would be better to fold at that point.

         Lowball and high-low variations depend more on the probability you are winning than the value of the implied odds of the out-draw.
         Now it should be easy to see why if you are playing with low funds, you must play tighter than if you cover the table. If you play with very substantial funds, then you may play looser still. A few small errors can be compensated by that one big win in a later pot. Also, when you are drawing, there will be ammunition to fire if you hit or wish to bluff.


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