Using “Fold or Raise” to Make a Call

Before ending this chapter it’s worth mentioning a general rule of Poker that you should incorporate deeply into your mind: It takes a better hand to call than it does to place an initial bet.

The easiest way to understand this rule is to look at an extreme example: Imagine playing at a table with ten players. Everyone is still in the hand, and with all five community cards face-up, nine players in front of you have called. You have the third highest pair with the board. What should you do?

Fold (of course). Someone has a better hand. In this situation there are just too many cards and too many players. The farther back you are in that ring, the better your hand needs to be because you’re playing against so many players.

There’s a good trick you can use with deciding to call — ask yourself if it’s better to fold or raise in that position. If you don’t feel good about raising (“There’s no way this is a raise”), then it may well not even be a call. This isn’t to say that you have to raise with your hand — you certainly can go ahead and call — but it sets a very good litmus test for you.

This theory applies across all forms of Hold’em, but it’s a particularly good guideline in No-Limit. There, we take this theory one brutal step farther and instead of simply calling, we raise.

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