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Family Pot

Community Pots - Family Pots

by Jesse Knight
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Family Pot
Family Pot – A hand in which many (or all) players dealt into the hand enter the pot.


Occasionally, in a poker game, everyone who was dealt in will call, at least initially. This is called a family pot. The fact that everybody called does not necessarily indicate that everyone has a good hand. Family pots usually occur in low limit games with loose action. In these types of games people often call with marginal or subpar hands. Low limit players will play bad hands for any number of reasons. They may not have sufficient discipline or knowledge about the game to avoid them. They may decide that a particular bad hand is lucky for them, or they may just want to gamble and may not be overly concerned about whether they win or lose the hand. In any case, these types of players are great for the game and make ideal opponents.

There is sometimes a legitimate justification for playing a marginal hand in a family pot. In any poker game, as each additional player enters the pot, the pot will lay better pot odds to each subsequent player. That does not necessarily mean that each player has a strong enough hand to have entered the pot. Still, it does mean that there is a greater incentive for players in late position to enter, even with marginal holdings. To understand why, you need a basic understanding of pot odds, and how they can help you decide if you should enter a pot.

As more players enter the pot, the pot gets bigger. This means that the reward for winning the pot tends to grow as the number of players entering the pot increases. On the downside, as more players enter the pot, the pot becomes harder to win, as you must beat all opponents in order to win the pot. One way to think about this is that as the pot grows, your pot odds tend to increase. Also, as the number of player’s entering the pot increases, your probability of winning tends to decrease. When deciding whether or not to enter a multi-way action, or family pot, you have to decide whether the increased pot odds you receive justify entering the pot despite the fact that you have a lower probability of winning the pot than you would have if fewer players had entered.

You cannot make this evaluation based solely on the content of your hand. There are several other factors that you must also consider when deciding whether to enter a multiway action pot with a below average hand. A primary concern is the impact your position will have on the value of your hand. If you are in late position, the quality of your position will add substantial value to your hand. Pre-flop, you are committing a relatively small amount of money compared to what the size of the pot is likely to be at the end of the hand. Remember, after the flop the hand is 5/7ths over, so you will have a good idea about what kind of shape you are in on the flop In addition to this you will have several players acting in front of you on the flop. If you can get in relatively cheaply, it might be a good spot, even with a marginal holding. On the other hand, if your position is poor and your hand is marginal, you are at a distinct disadvantage.

Another thing to consider is how your hand type plays against a large field. Some hand types that perform poorly shorthanded or heads up perform much better in against a large field. Suited connectors are the prime example of this type of hand. In late position in a multi-way action pot, suited connectors can perform quite well. Another factor to consider is how well or poorly your opponents play. If you are up against several tough players, you should tend to shy away from weaker hands.

The thing that gives one player an advantage over another is that they have a better probability of winning the hand. At showdown, the player who turns over the best hand has a 100% chance of winning the pot. They have vanquished their opponents; their advantage is 100% to 0%. Prior to this, each player had a different probability of winning the pot. If you added up each player’s probability of winning the pot, you would find that they add up to 1. In other words, there is a 100% chance that one of the players will win the pot. This illustrates that advantage is really a zero sum game. One player cannot gain advantage without other players losing theirs. You should be realistic about your chances of winning. A family pot can provide attractive pot odds, but consider also what you are giving up by entering the pot out of position or with a weak hand. The lower your probability of winning the hand, the higher someone else’s is. Don’t assume that the strong pot odds a family pot gives you automatically justifies a call with any two cards. It simply is not the case.

Usage: First Family Pot Of The Day, Loose Action Family Pot

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