How to Control Expected Pot Profit in Texas Holdem

The aim in all poker games is to avoid mistakes yourself and at the same time provoke your opponents to make as many of them as possible. Every time you make a mistake you lose and your opponents take advantages of it. Every time you manage to provoke your opponent for a mistake you get an advantage and they lose.

Expected Hold em Pot Profit Control

profit_controlThose victories and defeats are not instantaneous. You can make a serious mistake and win this hand anyway bringing a few more chips into your stack. But during a long-time game your results at the poker table will approach the sum of all your opponents’ mistakes with your own mistakes subtracted from it. This principle is fundamental in all games that combine skills and luck.

There are a lot of mistakes which you can make while playing video poker as well as texas holdem but one of the most serious is either to say bet or call that don’t correspond to the profit from the pot available in the game or because of that you have drawn the wrong conclusion about your opponent’s cards or because in whole you’ve pictured his cards right but were not concerned with the pot profit.

Unlimited form of holdem is very profitable for good players and there is one simple reason for it. Having drawn the right conclusions about opponents’ hands they can make bets which will force opponents to make mistakes. Whenever their opponents make such a mistake analyzing the situation, good players get an advantage and their opponents lose.

Real holdem poker example

Let’s assume that you play limit holdem (bets are limited by a certain sum in every round) and you presume on the basis of bets made earlier that your opponent has for cards for collecting flush of spades and he needs only one card to catch. Flush, if he manages to form it, will beat your any hand but in other case he loses. There is $100 in the pot at the moment and you bet this sum.

money_and_chipsNow it’s your opponent’s turn. He has seen six cards so far – two cards are in his hands and four common cards. If he’s hoping for a flush then four of these cards are spades. So there are 46 cards left in the pack that your opponent hasn’t seen and he needs one of the nine spade cards left. The rest 37 will mean loss for him. So his chances for collecting flush are 37 to 9 or a little higher than 4 to 1. Now the pot contains $110 and “call” will cost him $10, so he’s offered the pot profit 11 to 1. Since the pot profit is higher than his chances to collect the winning hand, the right decision for him will be to announce call. Your bet was absolutely the right thing to do because you are in favour to win this hand with 4 to 1 chances. But having $10 bet limit you can’t keep your opponent from getting the last card for his hand.

Now assume that we have the same hands and pot but we play unlimited holdem this time. You can bet any sum you like and not only $10. And this time you bet $100. Your opponent still can call this bet but now the pot contains $200 and has to call $100. The pot offers him only 2 to 1 gain and his chances to collect flush are same 4 to 1. Since the pot profit is smaller than his chances of supplementing the hand it is presumed that he will fold his cards. Since your choice for making a bet was not limited you were able to bet a sum which would create the possibility of miscalculation for your opponent if he wanted to continue competing for the pot. Controlling the pot profit you create the possibility of making mistakes for your opponents which they won’t face in limit holdem. Those their mistakes turn into money in your pocket.


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