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Texas Hold'em No Limit Advanced

Mistakes in Multi-Way Pots

12,970 Views on 3/10/14

Most strategy applies to Heads-Up situations, but what about multi-way pots?

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Mistakes in Multiway Pots

-HU vs Multi-way
-Common mistakes in multi-way pots
-Donking range in multi-way pots

The majority of the available strategy advice when playing NLHE applies specifically to heads up situations. When facing multi-way situations players typically make minor adjustments to their heads-up game rather than creating a new strategy. To achieve a high winrate in multi-way pots it's necessary to approach them in different ways to heads-up pots.

Before we consider the most common mistakes made in multi-way pots, it is necessary to give the topic some context by considering the major differences between heads-up and multi-way pots.

HU vs Multiway

Less Equity – Since we are playing against multiple opponents our pot equity is going to be significantly lower. It also means our hand is going to be significantly more vulnerable. Giving away free cards is going to be far more damaging to us when compared to heads-up situations.


Straightforward Play – This is not a universal truth regarding multi-way pots, just a widespread trend across many limits. The average player does not get tricky in multi-way situations – he will frequently resort to a straightforward style cutting out floating and check-raising with weaker holdings. He will also cbet tighter meaning defending against cbets is inherently less profitable with marignal holdings

Represent Stronger Ranges – Generally we can represent a stronger ranges betting and barreling in multi-way situations. Most people tighten up significantly when betting in multi-way pots so in many situations we may find ironically our fold-equity higher in multi-way situations than in heads-up situations where our opponents are more inclined to play back wide.

Common Mistakes

1. Playing fit or fold. We've already established our fold-equity may be higher in multi-way situations than we first imagined. Don't shy away from cbetting light just because the pot is multi-way. Keeping your cbetting frequency high in multi-way situations is excellent for your red-line.


Checking to the PFR when OOP. This is a common thing to do in heads-up situations so this generally trends over into players' multi-way game. While it's not always incorrect to check to the PFR, there are a number of problems with the line. In many cases leading or donking OOP is vastly superior to checking tothe raiser, especially when playing vs weak opposition.

Here is why:

● The original PFR will cbet less frequency – we risk giving a free card to 2 or more players

● When the original PFR does cbet he will have a stronger range making defending less profitable with marginal holdings

● We can represent a lot of strength by leading and miss out on a significant amount of fold-equity when we check.

● We fail to protect our value hands

3. Betting Too Large. We won't go into detail on bet-sizing, but a useful exploitative principle to understand ---->

β€œWhen we represent a strong range we can reduce our bet-sizing as an exploitative measure, when we represent a weak range we can increase our bet-sizing as an exploitative measure”.

As mentioned we represent a stronger range when betting/barreling in a multi-way pot and can use smaller sizings than you might imagine. The natural inclination of most players is to bet larger when facing multiple opponents which will frequently be the opposite of what they should be doing.

The next time you are in position in a multi-way pot and everyone checks to you, try betting 1/3rd pot and see what happens. Keep in mind that if it works more than 25% of the time we make instant profit – not even taking into account turn play where we can generate further fold-equity.

What Range should I Lead?

Hopefully we understand by now that it is crucial to have a leading range in multi-way pots, both as a bluff and for value.


Your general approach should be to donk-bet the vast majority of your continuing range. Don't worry too much about defending your checking range unless you are playing stakes above 200nl. At the higher limits the players understand that they should be cbetting frequently in multi-way pots also, so some of the disadvantages associated with checking to the PFR are no longer relevant.

Bluff leading range –-->
  • Gutshots
  • Bottom pair and backdoor flush-draw
  • Backdoor flushdraw with one or two overcards

  • Any pair that we play badly by check calling
  • Overs and backdoor straight

When is it ok to x/c or x/r?

This is not to say that we should completely eradicate any sort of x/c or x/r line in multi-way situations. While we should strive to the best of our ability to lead large amounts of our continuing range (especially at the lower limits) there are two main exceptions.

1) Original PFR cbets a ton, even in multiway situations. We no longer need to worry as much about players getting free turn card as it will happen much less frequently in this instance. We also don't need to worry as much about the PFR's cbetting range being stronger than average and can more effectively x/c or x/r.

Flop texture is very dry, we have a non-vulnerable strong made hand. We are not as worried about giving free cards in this particular situation. Also we don't necessarily want the nice fold-equity that leading into a multi-way pot would provide us either. It's likely a good thing if any of our opponents improve since we are more likely to get paid off.



I am of British nationality and go by the online alias w34z3l. I am considered one of the top consultants in the field for technical analysis (i.e. database work) and application of game theory concepts to various card games. I make a ... Read More


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