Pot Control and Hand Planning (Day 16 Course Discussion)

Debi

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Pot Control is the process of limiting the number of bets in the pot.

If you have not yet read Day 16 and watched the video for Day 16 - take a few minutes now to do that and then come back here to discuss it:

Pot Control

We learned what it means to plan a hand and decide in advance the number of bets you are willing to make. We also learned about controlling the size of the pot.

Let's talk about pot control and hand planning. Collin and Katie will be happy to answer your questions in this thread!

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Polytarp

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I watched the video yesterday and waited until today's online (free roll) poker activities were done to post observations/applications to this topic.
Yesterday I tried for a Sunday Million ticket in two different satellites and was bubble boy on my second try..which I considered as a small success. These games are piranha frenzies (PStars makes $$ from them also) where you have little time to wait for a good hand so you need to work with what you have and try to be among the smartest in choosing which other piranha to bite and how hard. Luck is definitely a bigger factor in these games so you need to establish as quickly as possible who has the widest card range and their betting correlation (not necessarily optimally related) to snag their chips AND to drag the big stacks into chewing into each other while making a quick exit. The more players eaten and rendered powerless while I provoke, instigate and attack elsewhere the better.

Today I was in some bigger free rolls, $25k, 2x$10k as well as other games including the always anticipated CC free rolls. Regarding the screen shots, the AA was played with a 1k raise and I had 2 callers - this was a protection/invitation raise. I've included my placement and the payout structure so you could see that I had my eye on the prize. I then went all-in post flop anticipating someone should have hit a pair (yes indeed). Unfortunately, my AA was cracked but I was able to survive (which is why I went all-in)..until..and this is the reason why AQ creates some of my largest losses...there is so much at stake and so much hope...like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football that Lucy has "set-up" for him.

The final screenshot is of a button play meant to steal the blinds at bubble time. Though not included, I also made the cash in the $10k "Neptune" free roll.

Final thoughts, these poker stars satellites probably do not attract seasoned players who will look to maintain their advantage in slower and larger field games so if there is a way to control the pot in jam and fold sessions and assess what cards to play.. knowing that if you wait your stack will be stolen by others and eroded by blinds and that if you play junk you will get wiped out...then I am sincerely interested. Regarding the larger 888 free rolls I was playing them blind since I didn't have notes on very many..there were a few CC players in the mix. The $25k was invitation only and one of the $10k was for players with 100+ levels capped at 5000 players. At the very least, experienced players populated these games (yours truly was outclassed here) so I applied more checking and less baiting and simply tried to eliminate mistakes by folding JJ, AJ, duckies (22,33...) instead of trying to build traps and such which relates directly to hand planning.:icon_stud


One thing I would like to add is that I assumed that the better players in these games would have at least a solid appreciation of "ICM" plays..if I had a suspicion that someone was playing this way I would to try to anticipate certain plays by certain players. Further, when I'm bluffed and the person advertises their cards..I like that.. . This puts a spotlight on my card handling/bet sizing and sensitizes me to board textures that I could also possibly exploit.
 

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PsychoVas

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Planning my hand is something I instinctively have done ever since I started palying poker. Feels really good when it pans out, but most of the time "when man plans, the gods are laughing"...
 
Katie Dozier

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Planning my hand is something I instinctively have done ever since I started palying poker. Feels really good when it pans out, but most of the time "when man plans, the gods are laughing"...


That's super impressive that you were planning your hands since you began playing! For me the firsts "plans" I had seemed to always be to attempt massive (and often ill-advised) bluffs :laugh:
 
cferdi

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Wiser but Poorer it seems

I've tried planning my hand (as I think you've mentioned it in passing elsewhere) as well as putting everything I'm learning into practice, but I'm starting to struggle. For me, it seems like it never (well, rarely) works like it does in your videos.

Maybe it's because it's mostly freerolls and ultra micro-stakes, but I can almost never isolate one or even two opponents when playing my premiums so end up facing like 4-6 opponents who all call the raise or one re-raises to allin and a couple follow so no chance of my AK, high pairs, suited broadways - anything - standing up against one or two opponents.

It seems like I follow all the guides, wait for the right cards in the right spots, play them the way I've been taught (or try to anyway, obviously I may make the odd mistake - I'm still a student after all, but I try to think it all through). Then I find myself facing half the field with a huge pot and I face the choice of either folding to save my place in the tourney and wait for a better opportunity, or calling and facing a rag flop and at least one of the other fish hitting it, more or less putting me out of the tourney or leaving me low on chips.

Another scenario that keeps happening is I try to keep in mind the advice you both give such the comment in this video "Often enough everything will go right" - well it doesn't! Not in the games I'm playing. In your videos they all play the right sort of raises, there's always only one or two in the hand - my tables rarely look like this - at least not unless I can survive until the very late stages.

I will have Top 2 pair, for example, and even if I am lucky enough to be up against one opponent, I know I should bet for value as the board is fairly dry; my opponent shows weakness all the way through. I think to myself "Collin says it's unlikely they will have xxx because..." then BAM, that's exactly what they have i.e. there is a 3 on the board and they have two three's to take down my AK or KQ 2 pr, or whatever. I had an A high flush yesterday, and although there was a pair of 6's on board, how likely was it that the one person who stayed in the hand preflop had that (I think they raised themselves allin and I covered them and they bet/raised everything anyway)? - but even if they did I beat their set! Or did I? Nope, they just happened to have a pocket pair of 6's for 4-of-a-kind!

Yes, I know this happens, but what I'm saying is, that since I've been trying to 'play properly' and according to the rules as best I can, I seem to be losing more. Is this normal? Am I thinking too much?

I watch hand after hand that I throw become winners that never were, so to speak (no wonder people call everything), then I see my A8o in EP and think, no! Too early, not good enough. And I throw it. Then when half the table have thrown all their chips in the middle the board comes something like 84AT8 !!???:confused::eek: Then I get my KQs in the CO and raise; then the Button reraises, SB 4Bets, BBgoes allin, an early limper calls and off we go, half the table have all their chips in - and sure enough, if I call there is nothing remotely like my hand on the board and if I fold sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't.

It's driving me crazy and I'm losing the bankroll I had managed to build.

Sorry for the rant, but I really am wondering if it works with Freerolls and Ultra Micros - am I wasting my time there with things like position and bet-sizing? Should I be playing something else? Should I be thinking differently?

I like tournaments, but don't have an independent income so was trying to build the bankroll generically through the FRs and micros and don't have enough to play even things like $1 tournament (although occasionally I do play the odd $1 or $3 but not regularly) as I don't have the bankroll yet if variance suggest 300x buy-in. (I have less than $100, well even less than that now, probably around $60).

Overall, I suppose, I'm wondering if it's normal when you are learning these skills for your performance to take a dip or is it just a coincidence that normal downturn in variance happens to coincide with my improving knowledge (and hopefully skills)? Or is it different at these micro, micro levels?

Now here's where I'm feeling a bit low about it - I was regularly In The Money previously and building a decent bankroll. Now? Well, it's disappearing and overall my tournament standing is slipping big time.

Can you advise, please?:)
 
cferdi

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Just had a thought: I wonder if it's the Coronavirus? I noticed a few posts around the web saying how poker site traffic is up lately, maybe all the really loose, new, inexperienced or just plain bored people stuck indoors are coming back in huge numbers and changing things a little. Maybe it's time to tighten up a bit more and let them do all their mad stuff and just sit tight and wait? Too many loose aggressive whales at the table don't make for good poker, more like Friday night Bingo!
 
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Katie Dozier

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Just had a thought: I wonder if it's the Coronavirus? I noticed a few posts around the web saying how poker site traffic is up lately, maybe all the really loose, new, inexperienced or just plain bored people stuck indoors are coming back in huge numbers and changing things a little. Maybe it's time to tighten up a bit more and let them do all their mad stuff and just sit tight and wait? Too many loose aggressive whales at the table don't make for good poker, more like Friday night Bingo!


That’s a very interesting theory that makes a lot of sense to me!

Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to run bad—I’ve def been there and I’m sorry that this is happening to you. The best thing to keep in mind is that players playing poorly will massively benefit you in the long run, even though it can hurt a lot in the short term. We want to be the best player at every table we sit down at, and for that to be true those around you must be making visible mistakes. The more mistakes you see, the better the job you’ve done at choosing the game you’re in :)

One thing that helps me be less results-oriented is to try to avoid watching the run outs. I’ve found that very little good can come of it, and if I get sucked out on then that can put me in a negative mindset where I’m unlikely to still be playing my A-game. Poker should def be fun and if you’re not having fun then I’d suggest a little break.

Your plan sounds like a good one, and I hope your luck turns around soon :)
 
cferdi

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That’s a very interesting theory that makes a lot of sense to me!

Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to run bad—I’ve def been there and I’m sorry that this is happening to you. The best thing to keep in mind is that players playing poorly will massively benefit you in the long run, even though it can hurt a lot in the short term. We want to be the best player at every table we sit down at, and for that to be true those around you must be making visible mistakes. The more mistakes you see, the better the job you’ve done at choosing the game you’re in :)

One thing that helps me be less results-oriented is to try to avoid watching the run outs. I’ve found that very little good can come of it, and if I get sucked out on then that can put me in a negative mindset where I’m unlikely to still be playing my A-game. Poker should def be fun and if you’re not having fun then I’d suggest a little break.

Your plan sounds like a good one, and I hope your luck turns around soon :)


Yes, the negative mindset can be a problem; but I try to use mind calming stuff (got a lovely snow-globe with white wolf lying calmly inside that helps). And, while my mind for a few moments goes crazy and wants to scream at everyone for going nuts and spoiling my 'training sessions' ;) (& fun) and that little voice says - "what's the point? No-one is paying attention, everyone is just playing any old thing AND WINNING! AND... my junk that I throw is winning, I may as well join in!" - is drowned out when I get up and put the kettle on, shake my globe and say out loud "No. Keep playing the best you can.... Don't get scared of that raise...Don't call that hand....etc. Keep at it - you're better than them, just keep getting better and keep learning and it'll all work out. At least my bank roll is going down slowly rather than quickly. That's what it's there for - variance!"

So, despite my low spirits and many frustrations, I am just about managing to push through it. The rant helped, but mostly, I just wondered why the action at my tables never seemed to look like the ones in the videos! Haha.

Anyway, played the CC FR tonight, at least the standard there was better :dancing2: but still wasn't getting much luck and found myself facing the exact one thing I didn't need - or drawing waaay dead. Still, it was a much better and far less frustrating game - so thank you CC buddies for helping restore some of my sanity and reminding me that it is still possible to play a decent game of poker even if you are on a bit of a downswing :D

Thanks for listening and thanks for your words of support and encouragement - it is greatly appreciated.:)
 
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Day 16 -Pot Control and Hand Planning

I honestly think that this chapter was the best for me because I always had to "improvise" when something I hadn't planned on happened on the table and that frustrated me. How can I not play my AKs against a possible bluff as a queen or jack appeared on the table on the flop?

If you are already predetermined to play you are more relaxed with the hand because if you suffer a raise, well I knew that this could happen then from this space forward it is call, fold or all in according to the profile of the villain.

I know this seems very obvious, but controlling the pots is really KEY. After I saw these chapters, there were several twists in the game, something that didn't happen due to my morale dropping after a lost play and the question of whether it should be different consumed me.

We will continue the course, now more consistently.:jd4::D:D:D
 
Debi

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I honestly think that this chapter was the best for me because I always had to "improvise" when something I hadn't planned on happened on the table and that frustrated me. How can I not play my AKs against a possible bluff as a queen or jack appeared on the table on the flop?

If you are already predetermined to play you are more relaxed with the hand because if you suffer a raise, well I knew that this could happen then from this space forward it is call, fold or all in according to the profile of the villain.

I know this seems very obvious, but controlling the pots is really KEY. After I saw these chapters, there were several twists in the game, something that didn't happen due to my morale dropping after a lost play and the question of whether it should be different consumed me.

We will continue the course, now more consistently.:jd4::D:D:D

I loved this lesson too. It is something I learned early on but this served as a good refresher and reminder.
 
Luvart

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Finished Day #16.

Answer to today's quiz:

I have TPTK on a 2-flush flop and we are 5-way, I would make a 2/3-3/4 cbet on the flop hoping to get heads-up to the turn. In the case of a blank turn or a diamond card I would make another bet, and if get called again, I would check behind the river. So two bets for me, but it depends on how many players will continue, what cards will come, etc.

Tomorrow with Day #17.
 
Phoenix Wright

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This was another lesson I really liked. A lot of it is fundamental, but still VERY important to have down well. I think the thing that surprises me the most is how I can already sense improvement in my poker (or at least based on my answers and thought process in the videos) and this is only about halfway through the course :)
 
Collin Moshman

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Thanks Phoenix, Debi, and Jean-Pierre! I definitely agree on how important pot control is, a really great no-limit skill I first learned about in Ed Miller's books.
 
redboy23

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Another very important topic covered in this chapter. Very often without plan you can take too long to play and give off tells. Of course, it can very well be your intention to slow roll villain. However, you generally want to appear confident with you movement and actions.

Response to video question:

I would like to get two bets in holding top pair and kicker. One on the flop and again on the turn if there is no heart, in an effort to charge for draws. Then I may check the river hoping to catch any bluffs.

Hope the dealer is nice to me :)
 
Syltan

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Man by nature is trying to control everything in his life, but everything turns out and therefore we are more prepared for defeat if we have a plan of action. And in poker it is very important to control the situation in the distribution and it is also important to have a plan of action on the opponent’s countermeasures to take control of the situation. When it is easier to throw cards in the pass when you foresee such an outcome in the situation and save money.
 
freddydr87

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Pot control is very important, because it will decide how much do you win or louse in poker, for this you have to know the streng off your hand to decide how manny streets would you bet or call,and you have to know iff u have a value hand or a showdonw hand(this can change at any street and because off this u have to know wich cards will make your value hands become in a showdonw hand). Knowing all off this you can plan the number off bets you can do during a hand and wether to play it,iff it is beatter to check/call or bet.
 
Nafor

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So would it be right to define pot control as a course of action where a hero has only a semi-good hand or worse, and the point of pot control is to limit hero's possible losses? So in a sense it is an opposite to value betting?
 
Yanko57

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This is one of my former flaws that once I get rid off, I saw big improvements in my bankroll.

I was just going for the homeruns too soon and the best % I had when doing this was rarely better than coin flips.
 
Collin Moshman

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So would it be right to define pot control as a course of action where a hero has only a semi-good hand or worse, and the point of pot control is to limit hero's possible losses? So in a sense it is an opposite to value betting?


Yes, you have a good but non-premium hand and want to limit losses but also make sure that you get action from worse hands. I.e. you can definitely still win the pot, but you know that if you just bet big the whole way, you'll only get called down by better hands.

Interesting idea on it being the opposite of value betting, I like that!
 
R

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Very useful information to improve the game.
I especially drew attention to the following nuances.
We think we often have the best hand, but don’t want to play a big pot. So we exercise Pot Control by checking a street. This limits the size of the pot and increases the chances that our opponent makes it to showdown with a worse hand.
You’re making a plan based on the flop; this plan is completely subject to change.
It’s usually best to bet earlier on coordinated flops and later in the hand on dry flops.
When planning, you must take into account: position, type of opponent and pre-flop action.
Very interesting lines for the top pair with a slight kicker: bet-check-bet; Bet-check-call
If your opponent rearranged you, do not forget to fold.
 
Katie Dozier

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Very useful information to improve the game.
I especially drew attention to the following nuances.
We think we often have the best hand, but don’t want to play a big pot. So we exercise Pot Control by checking a street. This limits the size of the pot and increases the chances that our opponent makes it to showdown with a worse hand.
You’re making a plan based on the flop; this plan is completely subject to change.
It’s usually best to bet earlier on coordinated flops and later in the hand on dry flops.
When planning, you must take into account: position, type of opponent and pre-flop action.
Very interesting lines for the top pair with a slight kicker: bet-check-bet; Bet-check-call
If your opponent rearranged you, do not forget to fold.
Glad to hear you found Day 16 useful and thanks for taking the time to articulate so many key points about hand planning!
 
BentleyBoy

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I really liked this session. I have been aware of pot control and this session has really sharpened my focus on it and the advice on using hand planning makes the control far more effective with the examples being really helpful. Flexibility is the key I think. Thank you.
 
Katie Dozier

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I really liked this session. I have been aware of pot control and this session has really sharpened my focus on it and the advice on using hand planning makes the control far more effective with the examples being really helpful. Flexibility is the key I think. Thank you.
Well said and I totally agree! :)
 
zam220

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Bank control is very important! The value of your hand can change on any street, and when you control the bank you have a larger set of your actions!
 
johnnylawford

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My experience is people tend to get married to their strong hands early and have trouble pot controlling when they're worried about being outdrawn. For instance on a 89Jhh flop with AdAc some players tend to overbet the pot to try and get rid of draws.

How do you feel about pot control with premium hands on a coordinated flop? Is there risk of being exploited if you pot control when scare cards come out (i.e. a ten or heart comes out on the turn in the example above)?
 
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