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Seasoned No Limit Hold’em players know that in order to win, they need to control the majority of the pots they play. This will reduce the chance of mistakes and allow us to manage the odds in our favor.
There are several ways to control one hand:
The first is the position. If neither player is leading the hand, then whoever is in position is in control.
The second is to be the one who leads the hand. If we bet and raise, instead of checking and calling, we will have control of the hand, because we will be the most aggressive players at the table.
Another way to control the pot is for our opponents to fear us. This is related to the level of aggressiveness of our game, but it is not a direct relationship. We can also be feared for our effectiveness, without being aggressive.
Finally, we can say that the player who is able to obtain the greatest amount of information about his rivals will be in control of the hand, regardless of who is the most aggressive or feared: information is power. This is crucial in poker and is what will ultimately allow us to gain control.
However, being in control has its drawbacks: if our opponents discover that we are in control, we can hardly drag them into putting their chips in the pot if they don’t have an excellent hand. The secret, then, is to make them believe that they are the ones in control of the situation. That way they won’t fear us.
Many beginning players assume that having the best hand at the table means you don’t need to be in control. The reality is that while the player with the best cards will win most of the time, not being in control means losing money in the long run. This means that what we want to achieve is to control the hands to keep our bankroll under control. Reducing risks reduces losses. Control increases profits. And, of course, it means less stress.