When you are playing in any form of poker, calling a raise is generally regarded as indicating that you have a very strong hand. Assuming that is the case, why would you not re-raise? There are a number of scenarios where calling a raise is an appropriate betting action depending on the stage of the game, the size of the raise, your relative chip stacks and the nature of your opponents.
Getting to See a Flop Cheap
In a pre-flop round of betting, you often get hands that you know you want to play, and those which you know to fold straight away. Between the two extremes are hundreds of marginal hands that could develop into monsters if you connect with the flop. For example, if you are in late position with high-ranking suited connectors and a bet of 3x the big blind comes in from a player you have already identified as a loose aggressive opponent, it will be worth your while to call him and erring on the side of caution not to raise him – especially if you feel that other players may well call a bet of this size and be involved in the post-flop action.
Playing Loose Aggressive Players
It is not only in the pre-flop action that you may want to consider calling a bet from an aggressive player rather than raising. Re-raising is often a strategy used to force players to fold by implying that you have a better hand than them. A loose aggressive player is unlikely to fold due to his nature, so although you do not want to allow your opponent too many cheap cards, unless you are convinced that you have the very best hand it is best to continue calling his bets until the river and beating him at showdown. The only consideration you need to bear in mind if pursuing this course of action is the number of chips you will have to commit to the pot before the conclusion of the hand.
Setting a Trap
Slowplaying is when you call all the raises to the river, and then re-raise with a massive bet – knowing that you cannot be beaten. It is a strategy that works well against any type of aggressive player, as they will maximize the pot for you. Calling a raise against aggressive player in order to slowplay them at the death can be a very lucrative option – it also has the added benefit of confusing anybody who has noted you as a purely tight aggressive player, and who would have folded if you had re-raised their initial bet. This type of betting action can help increase the size of a pot to more than it would have been, had you shown aggression during an earlier betting round.
Calling an All-in
This is the ultimate in calling a raise, and it is generally acknowledged that it takes having a far better hand to call an all-in raise, than it does to initiate it. The circumstances that you find yourself in, more than the cards you hold, will determine whether it is a good idea to make the call. In the early stages of a multi table poker tournament, it is often better to allow the bettor to pick up the blinds with his perceived monster hand than risk having your pocket kings cracked. However, later on in the game, you may be holding a similar pair of cards when a short-stacked player takes his final stab at staying in the tournament with nothing more than low suited connectors.
Calling a raise may not always be your preferred strategy, and goes against the advice offered by many poker pros. However, this action can be used on occasions to minimize risks and maximize winnings, as well as making your game difficult to read.
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