Controlling the pot size when in a hand of poker is an important plan of action. You always need to think about why you may be in the hand and how best you should play that hand. Most people, when playing a hand of poker play their cards because they like the looks of them. This is referred to as reflect calling. This is when people call a hand without really thinking about the cards they have or those they could face. You cannot play poker on instinct or luck alone as if you do you will be a losing player and that is proven. A smart player will look at the hand and determine how best they can control it.
Whenever playing with a good hand the objective is to build the pot and when in a bad hand your goal is to keep the pot as small as possible and hope to land a card that will improve your bad hand and make it a good hand. The question is how to do that and what amounts should you bet. When raising preflop you want to always raise three to four times the blinds. This is pretty much standard and is usually enough to convince those who were thinking of calling with mediocre hands to fold. The point to this is to steal other blinds or to reduce the number of players in the hand. The amount you should raise preflop is dependant to the number of players at the table. The more players at the table the more you need to raise in order to achieve the desired results. After making a preflop raise you should intend on making a continuation bet that is enough to represent the hand you want others to think you have in the event you may be on high cards only. If you have hit top pair or two pair and a potential flush or straight is on the board then bet an appropriate amount that will eliminate those who are looking to chase a hand.
There are other types of bets you can make to control the size of the pot. One of these is a block bet. This is one that a bet equal to half the pot size. The point to this bet is to maintain a smaller pot size and to stop the other player from placing a larger bet before you do. This is generally done when you have a weak hand. It is used as a semi bluff or to prevent your opponent from hitting a flush or a straight.
Overview of controlling the pot size:
You can use the above methods to control pot sizes. It is ideal to practise these methods in fun money play before you attempt them in real money play but for those with larger bankrolls they can drop down a few levels and apply these at those levels until such time they are comfortable enough with them that they can return to the level they were playing at before.