Beginner to Pro with Pot Control

UMA Poker Pro

This blog is for beginner Players playing cash games in online poker. Many beginners make the mistake of giving control of the hand to their opponents. Beginner poker players often bet the minimum bet. However, they only call a bet even when they have a pair or a draw. This type of play allows your opponent to play you like a puppet. 

Becoming a pro from a beginner takes a while and a lot of hard work. Good new! Overcoming becoming a puppet is easier than you might think. By following below mentioned simple strategies you will be on a track to learn how to control pot and win over your opponents in the beautiful game of online poker.

Prevent & Maintain

Prevent from giving off a tell and maintain your betting pattern, especially when playing with players who already know your playing style. Now, what is your betting pattern? Say you bet full pot with a good hand and half the pot when you bluff. Once your bluff is exposed, all your opponents may catch on to your betting style. Next time when you bet half the pot, your opponents may know what you are playing and call your half pot bets (I.e. bluff). Use this intel to your advantage. Switch your play every now and then. Certain time play opposite of your play style I.e. bet half the pot with strong hand and full pot when your are bluffing. You will need to build bigger risk appetite to make this play switch work. When you add such play variance, you succeed in confusing your opponents and opening the opportunity to control the pot.

Standard Betting Style

If building such a risk appetite is not your style, then here is a simpler solution. P.S. many poker pros use standard poker betting style i.e. bet half the pot on the flop; half to three-fourth the pot on the turn and one-third to two-third the pot on the river. By playing a standard game you prohibit your opponents to catch on your game. Please see that you have to be mindful of cards that open on the table to complement your play style. You have to communicate a story in each hand you play. 

Mathematical Advantage

On a draw like J (d), 10 (d), 2 (s), you  should bet the draws heavily. Hence, if your opponent calls, then they are making a methematical mistake. The porper bet to take a charge such draw is a full pot bet. We will learn about mathematics behind this calculation in upcoming blogs. On the flip side, if your opponent hits, then you may lose big due to inflated pot. However, in long run such play will show you profit. Before playing such draw make sure you have something in hand. Because players playing low stake cash games tend to call any bet. If you don’t have any card your chasing, you might be better off passing such draw. Whereas, if you do have some cards, you should play full force. might as well make most money possible when odds are in your favor.

Value Betting

Let’s see Another set of cards that are not as draw heavy: K(s), 8(h), 2 (d). In this flop, if you bet full size, then you might be value betting a pair of king with hands like AK or KQ. Most other players who are calling your bet till river might be playing with a set, trips or double pairs. Completely bad situation to be in. However if you bet half the pot, then you are still value betting while keeping the pot size small against stronger hands. Hence by accessing how many best and worst hands might call your bet and what can be the impact of stronger hands, you can control the game by controlling betting, giving you pot control. Keep pot size small when probability of other players having stronger hands is higher and inflate pot size when you have nuts plus your certain your opponent will call any bet. Beauty of playing cash game with beginners is that they will call any bet size till they have decent cards, without even considering opponents cards. They play like a coin flip. Let’s play till river and see who has better cards.


Now you shall understand importance of controlling pots. Effective pot control will help you maximize gain of money when you hit a draw and minimise loss of money when your opponents might have stronger hands. One more learning to keep in your back pocket: when a strong player calls your pot size bet on a dey flop, then it’s better to slow down on the turn and try to keep the pot small. 

Enjoy playing #NoFlinchPoker at UMA Poker