Make the most of your made hands
So you think winning poker is about making a big hand, don't you? I mean, what you need is to happen upon a monster, you can take care of the rest without any kind of problems, right? Boy are you ever wrong… Hitting the monster is easy, it's what comes afterwards that exceeds the capabilities of most online poker players. Making your monsters pay is not an easy task at all. If you're like an open book for the other players at the table, you will never get those pocket rockets off the ground, and while you will take down the pot with them, you're practically guaranteed that it will be an empty one every time.
Here's a brief guide on how you can take full advantage of the big hands that you sometimes come upon:
Why is it so difficult to build a large pot when you have the goods? Poker is no longer what it used to be in ye olden days. You can't get people to call you all the way unless they really believe they have a hand better than yours. Everyone at the table is trying to protect his stack the same way you are. Therefore your goal is to disguise your monster in order to mislead someone into believing that he in fact has a better hand than yours. The first thing you need to understand about building pots is that there are big pot hands and small pot hands. The small pot hands are hands that you are not willing to risk your entire stack on. Something like top pair would qualify as a typical small pot hand. Something like a flush, a straight, a boat or even a set is a nice example of a large pot hand.
While on small pot hands you do not aim to get your entire stack into the middle, on a large pot hand that's exactly what you are gunning for. What you want to do is to get each and every one of your chips into the pot when you know you have the goods indeed. Unfortunately, you can't just go all in and expect someone to tag along. You need to work hard to build up that pot and you can only achieve that through betting. The key is to start out small and gradually escalate the confrontation until the stage of total war is reached.
The most straightforward way to build a pot which will eventually swallow the stacks of both parties involved, is through betting each and every street. In no limit poker, bets are usually related to the size of the pot. What this means is that like a snowball rolling downhill, the pot gathers size as the hand progresses, provided you place bets that folks are tempted to call.
Another excellent way to escalate hostilities is through a check-raise. The check raise is an especially sneaky weapon; its only shortcoming being the fact that it almost always betrays great strength. Once you fire out a check-raise, your opponent is likely to take that as an unequivocal statement of supremacy in the hand, and fold in response.
Another risk that the check-raise carries is that in response to your first check, your opponent may decide to check too, and thus you'll miss a whole betting round, while offering your opponent a free card.
If you feel that you need to reach deeper into your bag of dirty tricks when trying to build a large pot, then over-betting is probably the solution you're looking for. Over betting is basically about placing a larger bet than the size of the pot. The strategy takes advantage of the fact that many people have this preconceived idea that overbets pretty much always hide a bluff, and they will consequently try to keep you honest.
Always remember that poker qualifies as a game of skill for the very reason that making your hand doesn't really mean anything. In the end it will be you and your poker skills that will decide how much money you win on your monsters.
Register at pokerforum.net to get the community's rap on the matter.