What is Buy the Pot?
Buying the Pot is another term for the ‘over-bet,’ which is a move that you can use to force your opponent out of the pot when you are bluffing your hand. If you are not bluffing your hand, then you will get even more value from buying the pot because your hand is the nuts.
This play is a move you need to have in your poker arsenal kit, and by understanding when, where, and why buying the pot is appropriate, you will win more pots, even when you don’t have a hand.
Buy the Pot Explained
What: At its bare boned basic, buying the pot refers to placing a bet much larger than the size of the pot. Any bet that is bigger than the pot is considered an over-bet, or buying the pot.
Why: In some scenarios, your opponent might be able to call on a standard-sized bet, but will often just fold to a larger bet.
Where: Buying the pot, or over-betting is ideally suited for deep-stacked games where you can place bigger bets compared to the size of the pot.
When: Buying the pot, or over-betting is a play that can be used on any street, but it is commonly played on the river.
Buying the pot can be used as an effective casino bluffing tool, or to make your opponent call with a losing hand, depending on the situation. However, it is critical for you to understand why you are making such a massive bet, thanks to the versatility of the move.
Playing the move as a bluff tool can be very appealing to you if you are a beginning player, because the odds are in your favor to win the pot. On the other hand, if your opponent calls your bluff, your enormous bet will cost you big time.
Conversely, if you are goading your opponent into making a light call, a massive bet might just be what it takes to scare them away.
Buying the pot as a bluff, to push your opponents out of the pot might seem like a primitive display of savage strength, but it is a calculated move nonetheless.
Just like every other poker move, the success rate in buying the pot will largely depend on your ability to read your opponent and the strength of the hand they may be holding. You want to buy the pot as a bluff move when you think your opponent is holding a medium-strength made hand.
If you think your opponent’s hand is a monster, it doesn’t matter how big you make your bet, your opponent will not fold. On the flip side, if your opponent is holding a weak hand, your opponent will fold to a standard-sized bet.
One of the most effective ways to use buying the pot as a bluff move is in a tournament, when you can put your opponent to make a decision for all their chips.
If you are a beginning player, it is important to keep in mind that a standard-sized bet will accomplish the same thing as the massive buying the pot bet, however if your opponents calls you down, a standard-sized bet will save you a great deal of money.
This is why buying the pot is most commonly used to try to get more value when you have the nuts.
When you see big over-betting, or buying the pot moves made at lower limit table stake games, you can make a bet on the fact it is with a monster hand, and win the bet.
Be sure not to fall into the trap of being predictable, or easy to read. If you are a beginning player, you might have a tendency to bet big when you have a strong hand, and this will be observed by experienced players, who will then mark you in such a way.
The 2 primary ways you can get the best value by buying the pot are as follows:
Against a Weak and Inexperienced Player: Weak or inexperienced players commonly make the mistake of failing to recognize the difference between certain bets. Betting and raising big when you have a monster hand will help you exploit their weakness and/or inexperience.
Over-betting (Buying the Pot) to represent Weakness: In some situations, buying the pot, or over-betting can make you appear weak, as though you are trying to buy your way out of a jam. Depending on the situation, this may be wrongly interpreted by an opponent, which is to your advantage.
See ‘Buy the Pot’, or Over-betting in Action
If you are still not convinced about the effectiveness of buying the pot, or over-betting, check this out:
Against one of the craftiest poker veterans in the world, in 2003, Chris Moneymaker pulled off one of the biggest bluffs in poker history by moving all-in for more than twice the size of the pot.