Calling is one of the most underestimated and incorrectly executed moves in both free online poker and cash Texas Hold em poker games. It is such that players who always call are disparaged as ‘calling stations’; however, it is not because they always call that they easily spill their chips to other players. It is because they call for the wrong reasons.
In this free poker games article, we’ll show you by way of example how to use calling in poker correctly.
Are there indeed right reasons for calling?
A right reason for calling, an aggressive player might note, is also a right reason for betting instead.
- For example, if you have A-K in a board of 10-3-K-7-8, if you are first to act, you bet; you do not check and call.
- You value-bet. However, if you are not first to act, what do you do if someone bets?
- Will you raise? Now, right reasons for betting are not-so-right reasons for raising. You don’t raise, but you don’t fold, too, because you still have a hand.
The rule now, for the above hand, is:
- If you are first to act, you bet.
-If you are not first to act, and someone bets, call an amount less than or equal to the amount you intend to bet if you are the first to act.
- If the amount is greater, you fold. This rule applies only if you have a hand.
- If you don’t have a hand, like just Ace-high, you bet, but you fold to a bet.
- Don’t call with Ace-high (unless out of curiosity).
Let us try another hand.
You have 8-7 in a Flop of K-6-9. You can check-call, but you can also bet. Now, betting is considered the better option, because you can make your opponent fold; after all, your hand is incomplete.
- If you check-call, however (or call a bet), you might send a message to your opponent that you are on a draw, and your opponent may continue bullying you later.
- Nevertheless, you want to complete a powerful hand, so you call.
- Just make sure you have the pot odds to call, however.
- If your opponent continues bullying you when you complete the Straight, you can raise.
Now, in another hand, you have A-6 in a Flop of 9-6-2.
- Because the flop comes small cards, anyone with big cards will fold to a bet.
- You can bet your Sixes. And you can also call with it, especially if your opponent decided to end the hand right there with A-Q.
- You can call, and later, if your opponent continues hammering you with small bets, you can call each small bet, because your odds are still sufficient.
- What’s more, you can pair your kicker or your Six if you call.
Lastly, if you have Q-Q in a Flop of Q-10-10, you have your opponent dead.
If your opponent bets, and you raise, it is more likely that your opponent will fold than not.
- This is because although your opponent might have A-Q, it is not likely because you know there are three Queens already out.
- Also an extra Ten is less likely for the same reason.
- Your opponent may have K-J or A-K (for a useless Straight draw) or a Flush completer.
Give your opponents opportunities to complete their hands so that you can solicit more action from them. If your opponent completes the Straight or the Flush later, then you have the upper hand. So just call, and call, until everyone escalates.
This also applies if you think your opponent has the spare Queen or Ten. You can let your opponent just bet and bet until the river, where he thinks you are calling because you just had a Queen or a small Pair, so at the river you can move your chips in.
These are some situations where calling is reasonable.
Now, what is incorrect with calling stations’ calling beliefs?
- First: they call even with the pot odds against their favor. They usually chase inside Straight draws and they lose their chips in the long run when they keep doing so.
- Second: they call big bets with modest, but marginal, hands even if they know they are beat. In a flop of 9-6-2 above, A-6 may call, but only if your opponents’ bets are small. But in front of a large bet, fold A-6 because you may not win against 9-x if you can’t pair your kicker or turn Trips.
Calling stations are the ones always calling with small pocket Pairs in the presence of overcards.
- Third: they usually believe that every player is bluffing so they are always tempted to call even with Ace-high. In other words, they call a bluff or something that looks like a bluff.
I hope this gave you some good insight into the use of calling in poker. Try to recognise situations where the call can be a useful tool and don’t get caught in the calling station mentality as that way lies poor play and no money!
As ever practice makes perfect so get on back to that NoPayPOKER free online poker game and play with real focus on what you’re doing and you’ll do great!