A lot of regular tournament poker players are familiar with the term “dry pot”, but a lot of people don’t understand when many people say “Why are you betting into a dry pot?”. Here are some thoughts:
What is a dry pot? A dry pot is simply a pot where there is multi-way action (3 players or more), where at least *one* of the players is all-in, and there is no side pot. That is, one player went all in, and the others just called. In this situation, the all-in player can only win the current pot, and there is no more money that the other players can currently win.
Why not bet? At this point there is no more money to win, other than what is in the current pot, therefore it changes the circumstances in which you would (or should) consider adding money to a side-pot. Often it is the goal to knock a player out of the game.. and with two of you still in against the all-in player, you have a better chance of doing so. Further, if you aren’t a great reader of hands, you don’t know just how bad you might already be beat. If the all-in player has a good hand, and you might be ahead or you might not and you bet your other opponent out of the hand that might actually beat both of you, then all you are doing is helping the all-in player double up, while not getting yourself a single extra chip. If your non all-in-opponent is of like-mind, he will check it down with the hopes of knocking the player down.
Isn’t that collusion? Yup, it’s what I called “Implied collusion”. But it’s one of those tournament accepted things. You’re not supposed to talk about it while you are in the hand. People who say “Wanna just check it down?”, are actually breaking the rules. So if you find yourself in the situation, just keep it implied.
Why bet? Of course there are times when you want to bet. For example, say you have a straight, but there’s also a flush draw out. You know for a fact (because you have the reading abilities of Negraneu), that your non-all-in opponent is on that flush draw, or maybe two pair with the full house possibility. You know he *can* beat you, and you know that the all-in player is pretty unlikely to beat you either way. That’s when you bet… so that your opponent cannot “suck-out” on you. If the only way you are going to lose the hand is to be sucked out on, then you really have to bet if you can get the other person to fold.
After some discussion at the poker table shortly after I wrote this, some additional reasoning for betting was given to me.
1) If you have the best hand, know it, and think the other guy will call, giving you more money. This was so obvious it almost goes without saying. If you can get more money, then you should absolutely try. Where people go wrong is their assumption that they have the best hand. People who respect the Dry Pot will often not do this unless they have the stone cold nuts.
2) You want to set your table image. I don’t really like this reasoning unless you have so many chips that you don’t care if you lose a few more. I think it’s reckless and a bit egotistical, but then again, psychology of the game is pretty important, and setting an image is definitely part of the game.
3) Putting another player on tilt. Again, the psychological aspect. If your reckless bet will put someone else into a state of tilt that you can take advantage of later, then I can definitely see a bet justified here. Again, it’s a bit reckless, and I’m fond of a more straightforward approach while in a dry pot.