The pot is the prize a player collects from the center of the table after winning a hand of poker. The pot grows throughout the hand; every time a player makes a wager it is placed into the pot. 

In this short guide to poker pots we’ll discuss the following frequently asked questions:

How Do You Win the Pot in Poker?

There are two ways to win the pot in poker. 1. Make a bet or raise and all other players fold. 2. Reach showdown and have the best hand. Good poker players make use of both methods in order to maximize their poker earnings.

What Does it Mean to Buy the Pot in Poker?

Buy the pot is an old poker expression which means to make a bet large enough that no player would be comfortable calling (and therefore presumably fold). It’s especially used in situations where little interest has been shown in the pot so far. Ironically, analysis has shown that small bets are often more profitable in these scenarios, but most poker players are familiar with the expression buy the pot.

What is a Side Pot in Poker?

A side pot is a second pot that is set up when one or more players are already all in. All future chips will go into the side pot and can only be won by players who contribute to that side pot. For example, if player A is all-in on the flop, a side pot will be set up which only player B or C can win. It’s possible for player A to win the main pot while player B or C wins the side pot.

What Are Pot Odds in Poker?

Pot odds in poker describe the price we get when facing a bet into a certain sized pot. For example, if our opponent bets $50 into a $100 pot, we’d have to invest $50 into a total pot of $200 (including our call). Our pot odds would be described as 3:1 (three to one ratio) or 25% (25% of the total pot).

What Does Pot Committed Mean in Poker?

A player is said to be pot committed when he has crossed the point of no return with his chip stack. In other words, he has invested such a large portion of his stack it would be incorrect for him to fold when facing further action. The exact point of becoming pot committed depends heavily on the situation.

What Does it Mean to Bet or Raise the Pot in Poker?

Bet or raise the pot means to bet or raise an amount equal to the current pot size. For example, if there is $100 in the pot, betting the pot would mean making a bet of $100. Pot size raises are slightly more complex since we should first imagine that we have called our opponents bet before calculating a pot sized raise. For example, our opponent bets $100 into a $100 pot. We treat the pot size as $300 (the size it would be if we called) and raise the previous wager of $100 by $300 to $400 total. Our opponent would then need to call $300 into a total pot of $900 (including his call). We can confirm this is a pot-sized raise because our opponent now gets 2:1 (33%) pot odds on the call.

Final Thoughts

It’s worth remembering that the goal in poker is not necessarily to win the most pots. If we were to win a large amount of small pots but lose all the really big pots, we could end up losing overall. The goal is hence to win the most chips (at least in a cash game) - so large pots are typically more important than small pots. Why not check out the rules of poker?

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