Calling a Bet

This is the edge of a more complicated territory.

If someone else has bet, you know a couple of things about his hand: He thought that his starting hole cards were good enough to play in the first place (or he was forced to play by being on the blinds), and now he’s implying that the flop has somehow fit his hand.

The most important thing to consider on a call is the character of the person who has placed the original bet. Is he aggressive? Timid? Hotheaded? Mad about losing the last hand? Drunk? Get a good feeling about this before you make a decision to call.

Hands that somewhat fit the flop can call. After all, this is still a cheap betting round and the turn may produce a card that fits your hand even better. Plus, your betting opponent may become less aggressive on the turn because he may not have that strong of a hand either and may have been just testing your mettle.

On the other hand, the turn card may come up anemic, making your not-so- great-fitting flop seem even worse — and making it easier to fold.

Hands that fit the flop well can call and can even consider raising, which we discuss in the following section.

You do not have to have the winning hand of the moment to be correct in calling. In fact, you can know that you’re an underdog — but as long as you have pot odds in your favor, you’re still right in making a call.

If calling seems to be too hard of a decision, fall back on the old standby question: With a bet in front of me, would I rather fold or raise with the hand I’m currently holding? If you ask yourself this question and the answer is “raise,” then you at least have a call. If the answer is “fold,” then just give up the hand right now. The hand will only get more expensive and complicated from here, not cheaper.

It is a supremely bad idea, especially in Limit, to decide on the flop that someone is bluffing and start calling them from now until the last bet on the river. If you think someone is bluffing, it’s possible that

You’re wrong. She actually does have a hand and you’re watching your money walk away.

She doesn’t have a hand yet, but she’ll end up making one. This scenario is possible with a semi-bluff or if the player just gets lucky.

She may have a hand that’s better than yours — even if she is bluffing.

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