Poker Strategy â€“ Being "Pot Committed"
If you are an online poker player, even if you happen to be a beginner, you have probably already run into the concept of being pot committed, and if you have a basic understanding of it, you may have even used it as an excuse yourself. That's right, an excuse, because that's what this poker concept is at its core. It is also one of the most controversial issues in poker and online poker. There are poker professionals and trainers who support the idea behind the concept while others strongly oppose it. The bottom line is however that being pot committed is most of the time brought up as an excuse by bad players to justify some of their worst moves.
The best way to explain why being pot committed is such a popular excuse is through an example. Suppose you are in a multi-way hand (with up to four other players involved) and you commit the beginner's mistake of chasing an open-ended straight draw way too far. On the river, you end up with nothing, and two players in front of you decide to shove all in. As the other two players get out of the way, you take your last 10 bucks and you shove them into the $450 pot saying that you’re pot committed anyway and that the pot odds justify your move. This is where most of the controversy stems from, because pushing $10 into a $450 pot would under any other circumstances be a more than decent move. When you know that is impossible for you to win however (given the two all-ins in front of you, as well as your weak hand) committing even a single cent more to the pot is a bad idea, something some high-profile poker experts call a “ridiculous move”.
Indeed, one would only have to win an extremely small percentage of hands with such outrageously great pot odds, but given the circumstances, and given the reads that one makes on the other players, making the call is in fact equal to throwing money away.
The bottom line is this: when you know/are fairly certain that there is no way for you to win the pot, ignore all odds involved and just throw that dead hand into the muck.
At the end of the day, the decision on whether or not you should consider yourself pot committed belongs to you, but bear in mind that according to most experts avoiding traps like the above described situation may in fact radically increase your win rate. Just be honest with yourself, assess the reads that you have on your opponents as objectively as possible, ignore the odds if you know you're drawing dead and do the right thing: don't throw money away just because you've already foolishly stuffed a lot more into that pot.
Another mistake which is rather similar to the above described one is the stuffing of the pot, which occurs when players push money into the pot in order to artificially inflate their own pot odds for an upcoming betting orbit but more on that in an upcoming article.