07-14-06, LearnTexasHoldem:

Pot Committed Definition

Question: First off, this is the best site out there for tips and stradegies. Thanks for taking the time to help out us beginers.

My question has to do with being "pot committed". I often hear, "He had to call the all in bet because he was pot committed". How do you know when you are pot committed? Is this a bigger factor in tournament play than in a ring game?



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Being pot committed simply means that you have so many chips already invested in the hand relative to your remaining chips, and the odds, that you have to call. Folding would be a mathematical mistake. Being pot committed happens much more in tournaments than in ring games. The reason for this is usually because as the blinds keep increasing in a tournament, the play is forced and there is more clashing with weaker hands. In a ring game there is as much time as you need, so players are all-in less. Also, the goals in the ring game are different than in a tourney. In a tourney you can play more recklessly, trying to move up the ranks. If you lose your stack you aren't nearly as concerned as if it were real money.

The typical scenarios of when you might be pot committed are as follows. Number one, if you don't have many chips left and you already invested some in a hand -- say being in the big blind when it was large or raising some only to be reraised. You know you don't have the best hand, but because you don't have many chips left and the fact that the pot is so large, you have to call. The next case of being committed is when you raise enough preflop to put more than half your chips in the pot. Sure you can still fold if someone reraised you, but since you have so many chips in the pot, it wouldn't be correct. See, say you have 100 chips and raised 50, only to be reraised to 100. The pot is now at least 150 chips, and you only have to put in 50 more to play. At that point it is correct by the math to call because you are getting 3:1 on your money and most hands in holdem aren't that bad.

On a final note, this can be a little deceiving. It is true that you should still call in this spot with hands that you think are better than the odds the pot is laying. The problem is that in the long run you will lose because what this really boils down to is going even money with a better hand. In the end you put in 100 chips against someone else's 100 chips when they had a better hand. So basically what I'm trying to say is you can't back yourself into correct decisions by building the pot with your own chips. Winning poker consists of having the best hand at showdown, and to do that, you need the best starting hand most of the time.

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