This is a discussion on Playing for side-pots within the online poker forums, in the Learning Poker section; Let's say two people have gone all in when you have a decent hand. One person who you think is a strong player goes all-in
Let's say two people have gone all in when you have a decent hand. One person who you think is a strong player goes all-in for 10,000 and you are probably going to fold because you figure they have a strong hand. But then a poor player who gambles a lot and tries pushing people out of hands goes all-in for 40,000. Now, if you call, you're fairly certain you will lose to the 10,000 to the strong hand. However, the side pot contains the weak player's bet (40,000 - 10,000 = 30,000 chips). So, that still leaves 30,000 in the side pot. If you are fairly certain you can beat the side pot then you could call even though you think you will lose the main pot. Losing the main pot means you will be down 10,000 chips, but winning the side pot means you will win 60,000 chips (the bad player's bet plus your call). So, the math for the hand is you lose the main pot where you put in 10,000 chips, but you win the side pot where you and the bad player both put in of 30,000 chips. So, you've put 40,000 chips into the pot and won 60,000 from the side pot giving you a net profit of 20,000 chips.
Another thing you can do, which goes against the whole “check to knock out the all-in” is slowly raise the pot hoping to lure the other opponents in with small to medium sized bets. A lot of times they will have a mentality of wanting to take out the all-in bet and may call you moderate betting. Put in moderate bets on the flop, turn and river and you just may come out ahead even if you lose the main pot.
1) I find joining side pots reduce the variance.
2) Another aspect, prevent the sidepot:
Raise after the small stack goes all-in. All others now see multiple raises, not just someone calling. This often prevents others from joining and gives a lot of info ono your opponents.