How to Play Monster Poker Pots
Monster Pots are a common occurrence in tournament poker and often times this one monster pot is the difference in a player running deep in a tournament or busting out of a tournament. Playing huge pots especially late in tournaments will get your juices flowing more than anything else in the poker world. You are playing a huge pot for your tournament life and this will determine if you win a small amount of money or if you win a large amount of money. The difference is when you should play a monster pot. Most tournament players will tell you that you should not play big pots without big hands, or you should not play big pots unless you think you have the best hand. Although this is a good approach there is a much better approach to take on this situation.
The situation you will likely want is to have a very loose table image at a final table or late in a poker tournament. This table image will help you play monster pots with premium holdings. If you are playing a tournament rather passively, you will almost never be able to play monster pots unless you put a cooler on another player. Aggressive tournament play is going to give you the best shot at playing monster pots. Monster pots are common at final tables and late in tournaments as stacks are big and only the fighting few are left to battle for the win.
You can also play monster pots with big flush draws. Flush draws are the best types of hands to play big pots with mainly because you can force a fold by shoving a large percentage of the time; collecting some equity there. Also, even if you do get called most times you are facing top pair and are close to even money. Some players play flush draws slow, but you should almost never do this. The only time to do this is facing a super aggressive player, where you know you will get paid off. Shoving is the best play against passive players because you will get a bunch of money in the pot, and with a big draw this is what you want. Against aggressive players, you can assume that the pot will be inflated by them. Aggressive players almost never slow down unless they get raised. If you make a flush on the turn or on the river you will get value from an aggressive player. If you make it on the river, the aggressive player will most likely bet and then you can shove or put in a minimum raise in hopes of them re-shoving.
A situation that comes up very commonly in tournament poker is playing the dreaded ace king. Ace King is a big hand in tournament poker as it is a coin flip against almost all hands that are paired and a player can raise all-in with it and get called by worse hands as well. If you are shoving with ace king you don’t want it to be evident that you have ace king. When you get under 30 big blinds or so, you will be shoving ace king off suit or ace king suited to a pre-flop raise. The reason for this is because you are getting called by worse hands sometimes, but more importantly you are getting folds from middle pocket pairs a decent amount of the time. If the middle pairs call you then you are flipping a coin and this is what you want when you have ace king. You just have to hope to win the race. In tournament poker you have to win the coin flips to win the tournaments. Playing ace king is a tricky hand to play and often times you will over exude your means with pre-flop raises out of position and get stuck in the pot. If you are playing a pot from the small blind or big blind, you should instantly shove and look to play a monster pot or force a fold. If you are sitting on the button with a hand like ace king suited often times you can just make a 3 bet before the flop. Position is a big part of tournament poker and if you have ace king there are very few situations where you wouldn’t want to play a monster pot with it.