Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Commandment #6 - Don't Be A Calling Station

Back to the Ciaffone and Reuben's 'Commandments of Poker' today with a look at number #6... one that we can presumably all agree with right?? But, extremes aside - how many of us are guilt of calling a little too often.

The occasional tired PLO pot is the most dangerous for me... when an unlikely backdoor draw comes in and that nagging doubt rears its head - boom - of course your opponent has the unlikely nuts, of course.

Now, we really need to distinguish being a 'Calling Station' from someone who calls bets as part of a balanced strategy... there are of course many good reasons for calling bets, particularly in position which would include:

- Taking a free-card
- Controling the pot size
- Avoiding a suspected check-raise
- Floating (calling a presumed continuation bet on the flop with the intention of taking the pot on a later street after your opponent shows weakness).
- Encouraging a 3rd party to Squeeze.
- Slowplaying

Probably more than this, but wanted to keep this post reasonably sized!

Now, no post on calling stations would be complete without mentioning the fundamental '2 ways to win a pot' idea... you either show down the best hand, or you make your opponent(s) fold. Easy right? Someone who calls rather than raising can only win under ideal circumstances... not only do you need to show the best hand on the end, but also to have had an opponent who is willing to bet for you - ugh?

Raising wins pots and also disguises your hand those times you have a monster. At the lower limits playing 'tricky' poker is almost a standard... my perception is that slowplaying is considered a must whenever this is possible. Throw in a couple of observant opponents as we get to the mid-lower stakes and those changes in betting are like a big flashing red light above your head.

Back to raising - and this sums up commandment #6 in 2 pieces. Firstly raising wins many smaller pots, it also disguises your monster hands in a far better way than suddenly calling ever will... it disguses your holding at the same time as building a big pot - perfect! The other angle is that even the most dedicated calling station will flop a monster now and again... unless your opponents are out there with the fairies they will need to (wait for it)... bet! And what, may I ask, do observant players do when a dedicated calling station starts betting??? Well, they run away and get on with the next hand - waiting unil they have an edge on the station before betting once again.

A more interesting commandment than it first seems - have made a note to try and work out whether there are more circumstances in which I am calling too much... for another post.

GL at the tables, Mark

1 comment:

AllanDuke said...

I'd probably sign up for an account on every poker site. rakeback and deposit bonus of course. I'd try to clear as much bonus as possible on each one, and then stick with what ever site was most profitable for me.