Poker calling hands – the “only” call

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McTap03 | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy

Before I go on with this post, let me introduce myself as I am new to the Poker Bankroll Blog team of bloggers. My online name is McTap03 and I’m a Poker-holic. There, I said it, and now that I have that off my chest I feel much better. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. But then again, why would I want to recover? So nevermind, I’m not addicted.

Anyway, if you really want to know more about me, check out my blog.

Now onto this blog.

Have you ever called a bet (tournament or cash game) where you had a good feeling you were behind but the amount was “only” a little bit and well worth it to see another card to maybe hit your miracle card to win?

Before I go on about this topic, let me give you a little insight into where I started thinking about this.

My wife went shopping yesterday and I knew before hand that this was going to be an expensive day. This morning I wake up and see all the items she purchased. There is plenty but I brush it off as I have only a short time to get ready before commuting (1 hr) to work. As I’m leaving, she wakes up and asks if I like the purchases. I make a comment about item X that I felt was really not necessary, which she replies with “it was ‘only’ X dollars” and heads back to bed. So while collecting my thoughts during my commute, I come to this conclusion: I say the same thing when it comes to poker and totally feel it to be justified.

So getting back to my original question, ask yourself the following: Have you ever called a bet (tournament or cash game) where you didn’t like your situation but the amount was “only” a little bit and well worth it to see another card to maybe hit your miracle card to win?

If the answer is yes, then how many times have you actually hit your miracle card? And did you win the pot? My guess is that you hit your card far less than the ‘good’ odds you were given to see the card. And then, depending on what the card was, you probably didn’t get paid off for it. The reason I say this is that, if the card made a flush or straight, most observant opponents would put you on it and then either not bet before you, or not call your value bet. So unless the card made you trips or top 2 pr (which are easier to disguise), then you won’t get much value on your river bet. Plus you still might lose if your opponent has you ‘out kicked’. So what do you do? Poker is at times a gamble, so you can’t stop calling the smallish bet on the turn/river, but you can minimize when you do, therefore controlling your ‘leak.’

Too many players, especially at the lower limit games, like to chase cards as they figure they will win a big pot if they hit, but in reality this is a HUGE flaw in their game. They are throwing away money/chips for a chance to hit it big. This is where outs and odds really make a difference. If you are chasing a flush draw/OESD then you might be getting good odds to call the “only” bet, but if the draw is to trips, 2 pr, or even worse top pair, then your odds are probably not in your favour to call. The good players know their odds and outs, while the ‘fish’ don’t, or don’t care about them. The good players have a better understanding of when to call the ‘only’ bet and when to let it go. So if you want to become a better player, really start focusing on this aspect of your game (mostly odds and outs), control your leaks (especially if you hear yourself say “it is only X more to call”, then don’t do it), and over time you should become better.

Good luck at the tables.

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1 Comment to Poker calling hands – the “only” call

August 30, 2008

I agree that a thorough understanding of outs and pot odds is crucial in order to become a winning poker player.

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