Pot Odds and betting, what do you do?

pokernut

pokernut

Guest
I have been pondering the following situation in my head for a while. When you are sure you are in the lead in a hand after the flop there are numerous ways to go about your next move all trying to get the most money in and the best chance to take down the pot. You can slowplay (not my favorite approach), lead out, check with the intention of reraising, etc. Of course all of this changes with position and number of people involved in the hand. My question is in leading out and pot odds.

This is mostly relevant to a hand with one or two others involved. In reading Harrington's book (just volume I so far) he seems to think the best thing to do when you know your ahead in the hand and first to act is to make your bet an amount that will give others bad odds to call. He believes that your goal is to have your opponents make a mistake and calling in that situation would be a mistake. Although I can see the point in this theory, I tend to disagree.

My theory is that this will chase many player's out (at least smarter ones) and you want to get money in the pot because you are the favorite. I tend to lead out with the biggest bet I can that still gives them odds to call (most of the time, some situations are different). I believe that this gets the most money into the pot for you to take down. Yes, I know that this also makes it the right play for them to suck out on you, but more often then not, they will not catch what they need. In the long run I think you make the most money this way.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
I disagree with your disagreement, although I see where you're coming from.

The problem is that even when you're ahead, there's still "dead" money in the pot. This affects you, because there is a break-even point where you'd just as happily take just the dead money as have your opponent call a bet from you. Let's take an extreme example.

Let's say that your opponent has exactly one out; he has an inside straight flush draw and you have four of a kind (I like drama). He only has a 2% chance of drawing out on you. He knows that. You know that. You're playing with your cards face up for some reason.

If it's a $1000 pot, and you bet only $20, of course he's going to call. And sure, 98% of the time you'll win an extra $20. But 2% of the time, you'll lose $1020. That's the problem. Your expected value by only betting $20 is less than it is if you make him fold. Rooting for a call just because you have the best hand is only true if there wasn't any dead money in the pot, but there always is.

Since there's always dead money, there's always a break-even point.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
I don't know where you're playing where the fish don't pay more than what pot odds would dictate is a proper call to chase. The majority of the players in my database would chase a flush draw to the river for pot bets.

All you're doing by betting so small is letting them make a correct call based on pot odds. You'll get a much higher EV with just plain leading out for amounts that would give your opponents bad odds.
 
pokernut

pokernut

Guest
yeah, I understand what you're saying. I guess where I came to my conclusion is that I generally looked at each instance (giving the opponent odds to call vs. not) and came to the conclusion, maybe wrong conclusion, that it would be more profitable over time to give him odds to call with the max bet that will give him those odds.

I did some more math on the situation and realized where I went wrong. Take the following situation:

You: QhQd
Him: Ac2c
Flop: Qc7h3c

say there is $5 in the pot. You bet $1 giving him 5 to 1 to call so he calls. Pot goes to $7. Your river bet doesn't really apply here because we are going to say he doesn't hit his club 65% of the time, so 65% you take down the $7 wich is $455. In my OP I didn't really take into account the other 35% where he hits his club. In those situations if you bet $2 on the river, giving him odds to call and he just calls or reraises but you recognize and fold, that equals $315, giving you a net profit of $140.

In the other situation you bet $5 on the flop into the $5 pot giving him incorrect odds to call, and take it down 100% of the time, that's $500 vs the $140 in the previous situation.

This probably makes no sense but I think a light bulb came on in my head after thinking about it more :D.
 
pokernut

pokernut

Guest
I don't know where you're playing where the fish don't pay more than what pot odds would dictate is a proper call to chase. The majority of the players in my database would chase a flush draw to the river for pot bets.

All you're doing by betting so small is letting them make a correct call based on pot odds. You'll get a much higher EV with just plain leading out for amounts that would give your opponents bad odds.

I agree and majority of the time I recognize these folks and do that but I was meaning when playing against players who wouldn't chase the draw.
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
the biggest reason is that unless you can put them solely on a flush draw it's not profitable, because you will most likely pay them off every now and then.
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

Legend
here's the correct answer IMO, when you know your ahead on the flop and there are draws out there then you push, if the board is rainbow with no draws then a slower approach is acceptable.
This is the way I play and it has won me more than has lost.
 
pokernut

pokernut

Guest
Yeah, I think I'm definitely overthinking things here with trying to get the most money out of these situations over time. Like Chuck said there are usually people at the table who are more then willing to chase it down with bigger bets anyway.
 
T

The Weevel

Guest
How's this for a bad example of what we're talking about?

On the bubble, in the BB with 84o, gets folded to SB who calls, I check.

Flop comes A48, I bet 3 times the pot, he calls, turn is 8, a full house! I think: let's slow play and get some money in, I bet minimum, he calls, river comes another A. BIG mistake - I could be in trouble here!! I bet 3 x pot, he pushes all-in, I call, he's got the Ace - I'm out of the tourney in 4th place and out of the money.

If I had pushed on the turn he would probably have folded - I hope! Very bad play on my part but hey, I'm only a beginner.

So my advice would be to take the pot when you can - unless you have the ABSOLUTE nuts, of course!
 
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