5 Times You Don’t Have to Call
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.