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5 Times You Don’t Have to Call

  11 Reviews (Login to Write a Review)

Many poker players mistakenly call when they should fold. They’ve been led to believe by convention or habit that there are certain situations when they have to call. Most of these conventions are wrong. Here are the top five bad calls that even good players often make automatically. You don’t have to. I’m giving you permission to fold.

1. Calling the check-raise.

Your opponent checks. You have a good but not a great hand. You see the check as a sign of weakness. So you bet. Your opponent now raises you. It’s tempting to call. After all, you might catch a miracle card and turn the tables on this brash check-raiser. You should probably fold.

2. Calling the re-raise.

You have a strong hand but not a monster. Someone bets in front of you. You raise. Someone after you, not a maniac, re-raises. The first player folds. You don’t have to call.

3. Calling a late position steal raise.

You’re the big blind. Everyone folds to the button. The button raises. The small blind folds. You look down and see Jd3c. You don’t have to protect your blind. Fold.

4. You know someone is bluffing.

There’s a maniac to your right. He raises everything. Five people have called and he raises. You have a bad hand. Don’t be a policeman – even though you know he’s stealing. Let the stealer win. Fold.

5. It’s only a partial bet to call.

It’s the middle stage of a tournament. You’re the big blind of $1,000. You have $3,000 left. Someone to your left goes all in for another $600. Everyone folds to you. You have 9s5s. Yeah, it’s a bargain and you’ll knock out your opponent if you win. But don’t call. You don’t have to; you have a lousy hand, and you will save a significant piece of your stack by conceding.

Of course there are situations like the ones above when a thoughtful player may want to call or even raise. But don’t do either automatically.

What turns an average player into a good player is his ability to stop his habitual response and replace it with the proper thoughtful action. He should never call automatically – just because he has initiated action in a particular round of betting. In this sense, a good poker player must reverse the old adage “winners never quit and quitters never win”. He must learn that quitting is sometimes the smart play.

Ashley Adams has been playing poker since 1961 when he learned it literally at his grandfather's knee. He started playing seriously in 1993 when Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut opened their poker room. He can usually be found there at the $20/40 stud or the $2/5 no limit hold 'em table.

Ashley has played poker all over the world, winning money in ring games and winning tournaments in Hungary, Austria, England, the Bahamas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, California, Washington, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. He was the most prolific writer of poker articles in 2005, 2006, and 2007 and has written two poker books. His first, Winning 7-card Stud (Kensington, 2003) is available on Amazon.com. His no limit hold 'em book, Winning Low Limit No Limit Hold 'em, is an ebook and most readily available directly from the author for $10.00 at asha34@aol.com.

Ashley also runs charity poker tournaments, teaches poker privately and at the Boston Center for Adult Education, is a frequent guest on radio and television programs (having appeared on WBZ-AM, WHDH Channel 7 TV, WGBH-TV, NECN-TV), and has a regular radio show that can be heard 24/7 on www.houseofcardsradio.com.

Comments (11)

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U r right

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by Batwomanfin on August 26, 2007 (login to reply)
great stuff ashley.

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by Matt on September 18, 2007 (login to reply)
Good article, but I don't agree about the last tournament hand. With 3100 in the pot and only 600 more to call I'd call with any two cards as the pot odds are great. (BB 1000 + SB 500 + All-in 1600 = 3100, costs 600 to call so your odds are 1:5). Additionally with 95s your both cards are probably live, so if he hasn't got a pair of tens or higher you still have good chances of winning even though you are an underdog.

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by ThreePairs on September 21, 2007 (login to reply)
u are right!
but i also disagree with the tournament-hand!
in your example you would have too good pot odds to lay down your hand...
but great articel!
damm i cant change my vote... 4/5 would be much better

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by Gentleman on November 28, 2007 (login to reply)
I just read the article about when to fold, and it mskes perfect sense, and you are absolutley right! I can relate.
I have called the raiser after he/she initially checked, and usually it ends in disaster, whereas if I stop and think about it and fold, I do save myself money. Excellent
advice!
Bev Wells
Blueyesx 1

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by blueyesx 1 on December 1, 2007 (login to reply)
Id call the last example given for sure. Great pot odds. The rest...well I can only agree. Common sense in most of them.

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by briansj on January 15, 2008 (login to reply)
I agree fully including point 5.
Look at this way, you may be calling to AK suited (*64% - 36% Preflop vs 95S), Aces (*82%-18% chance preflop vs 95S) or another premium hand.
The pot would be 3100, yes. But if you are dominated and lose to a premium hand, your stack would be 2400, and his 3700, and that would be another player dominating you for a lousy call, regardless of the odds.
Personally I would wait, and even fold the SB if the cards are no good, as I would not want to have this player dominating my stack, and to be left with a little over 1 round of Blinds with the SB next hand.
Whereas folding will leave 2 Rounds of Blinds and more time to be dealt a premium hand, and a better chance of progressing in the tournament.
Calling the Allin would be shortsighted, regardsless to whether or not the odds would dictate it.
(*Odds calculated using: http://www.learn-texas-holdem.com/poker-odds-calculator.htm)

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by The_Emperor on February 6, 2008 (login to reply)
Also not with the tournament hand after the berating I got on full tilt for folding such a hand on the bubble of a 10 man 'sit and go'. Retard? I think that is what I was called!!

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by lam8chop on April 15, 2008 (login to reply)
the knock out is +ev....also says that ur prepared to play for stacks with marginal holdings which loosens up peoples raising ranges against your stack with is also +ev. i dont think defending your blinds with such good pot odds is a bad play at all.

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by MehFU on May 17, 2008 (login to reply)
great ideas

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by pokerasdf on September 17, 2009 (login to reply)
Sitting in the poker table with other player is an extreme feeling especially when you're lucky enough to win you bet.

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by VannyThompson on November 28, 2012 (login to reply)
 
 

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