Facing off against multiple players is not always easy, but you will have to do it often in passive, lower-stakes games. In this article, we’ll share some crucial advice on how to improve your results when playing multiway pots.
When to Enter a Multiway Pot
As a general rule, we should be looking to avoid multiway pots and play as often as possible against a single opponent. Proponents of a GTO style of play would rarely advocate calling when a player in front of you has opened for a standard raise and at least one other player has called. Most of the time, it should be a raise or fold situation.
However, the majority of those playing lower-stakes online poker games are not thinking about high-level GTO tactics. Multiway pots are often unavoidable, regardless of your approach. So for the most part, you should stick to playing with a solid preflop range and see what happens postflop.
Top Tips for Winning Multiway Pots
Let’s dive right in and reveal our top tips for taking down multiway pots. You’ll notice there’s a common theme running through them, which is to tighten up your play when facing multiple opponents.
Remain Selective Preflop
We’ve touched on it already, but it’s important to stress once more. You need to remain selective about entering pots with several players. It’s hard to stay out of some multiway pots due to the great odds on offer, especially if you’re in the blinds, but calling too wide leaves you in lots of tricky positions.
You’ll often end up with mid-strength hands with some showdown value, like second or third pair. And these are not the types of holdings you need when facing several opponents. Don’t get into trouble.
Bluff Less Often
This is simple but effective advice. It’s just common sense that, when you’re facing multiple opponents, you’re more likely to up against an actual hand. Therefore, any attempts at bluffing are less likely to go through successfully.
With that in mind, don’t just do things for the sake of it, such as taking a stab on the flop or making a continuation bet on the turn. If you must bluff, try to keep to semi-bluffs with hands that can actually improve.
You always need to think carefully about your continuation bets, but when you play in multiway pots, it’s especially important. Since more opponents mean a lower chance of winning the hand, you should be more selective with these bets. As a general rule, try making smaller c-bets.
Betting too big makes it much harder to bluff on the river since you’ll have fewer chips to play with. And of course, it’s much harder to get a small bluff through than a big one. But also, swelling the pot earlier in the hand when you are less likely to be ahead is never a good plan.
Don’t Defend Blinds Too Hard
You’re more likely to find yourself in a multiway pot when you’re in the big blind since you already have an investment. It’s probable that you’ll be getting decent odds to call a lot of the time. And of course, defending blinds is also important for your table image.
However, as we’ve previously stated, do remain selective and don’t call with too wide of a range. You should defend your big blind much less often against multiple opponents than in heads-up spots.
Protecting Your Equity
We’ve spoken a lot about tightening up in multiway pots and this is important. However, you should also be ready to protect your equity when necessary. When heads up, it’s easier to play things safe, but with every extra opponent in the hand, your chances of being outdrawn increase.
Let’s say you’re holding top pair with a junk kicker on the flop in a multiway pot. You have to prevent players from seeing cards for free and attempt to thin out the field. But don’t forget that smaller bet sizes are still the weapon of choice. Anyone with a monster is calling a bet regardless of the size. So something around a quarter of the pot should be enough to get a few folds from the lesser hands.
Hands That Perform Well in Multiway Pots
Remember that it’s harder to win multiway pots, so you need to be playing hands that perform well against several opponents. The best types of hands are:
Naturally, a bigger pocket pair is a decent starting hand in any situation. But the fact that you’ll flop a set around 12% of the time means that even the smaller pairs play well against multiple players.
These are great to play in multiway pots since you can easily ditch them when you don’t connect. But most of the time, you’re going to flop two pairs or a big draw, leaving you in great shape to potentially stack someone. Master how to play suited connectors so that when you are in a multiway-pot situation, you can potentially win a good payout.
Multiway pots can be tricky to play. The key takeaway is that it’s harder to win against multiple players, and in most situations, you should consider tightening up. Hopefully, you can apply the knowledge gained from this article to improve your returns in these spots. If you haven’t, why not sign up for an account at Natural8 to test your knowledge? After all, the more you practice, the better you get.