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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Poker Plays with Pokerpeaker: Calling When The Bet Makes No Sense

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I play tight poker. I don't apologize for that. It's who I am.

But that means I need to pick off people who think they can take advantage of my ability to fold.

How do I do it? I call when the bet makes no sense.

I've got $47 in chips at a .25/.50 NLHoldem game on Full Tilt Poker. We're playing a 6-max game, which means I need to be even more conscious of players trying to bluff me.

Given that, I'm dealt {Q-Clubs}{10-Hearts} in middle position. I decide to call. Upon reflection, I don't like the call. This is a hand I need to raise or fold, it can be dominated by so many other hands.

But I call. OK. I get what I want, as an aggressive player, the Big Blind, who's built up a $104 stack with his aggressive and somewhat reckless play, just checks his option, and we're four-handed on a flop of {6-Spades}{7-Clubs}{Q-Spades}.

That's a pretty good flop for me. The Big Blind bets $1.50, nearly the pot, and I decide to call. I've got position, and I think there's a good chance I'm ahead here. Again, upon reflection, I wouldn't mind a raise here, given that the board is pretty draw-heavy, but a call isn't terrible given my position and my read on this player.

The {6-Hearts} falls on the turn. I really don't think I'm behind because I think my opponent would have raised pre-flop with a hand that could beat me. So I decide to lead out when my opponent checks. I bet $3, nearly half the pot, and he just calls.

I'm not sure what that call means, but it doesn't worry me too much. It's quite possible he has a draw given the fact that the board is kinda scary.

On the river a {7-Diamonds} falls, and he bets $7, almost the pot. It makes me pause for a minute. Now I need to think.

I suppose it's possible that he could have a full house, if he does then good for him.

But what's more likely. He could have a 7, but I don't think he has a 7. He bet on the flop, which could mean he has a 7, but then why would he check the turn when probably the best card for that, another 6, came down? And why not check-raise me when I decide to lead out instead of just calling?

Again, this guy's aggressive, and a check/call on the turn doesn’t match the betting pattern of an aggressive player. It matches the pattern of a guy on a draw.

So does he have a 6? Possibly, but again I think he would have raised me on the turn if he had a 6. A check-raise is even possible because it would be hard for me to put him on a 6.

And I can't put him on a strong Queen because he didn't raise pre-flop. So my guess is he has a crappy Queen, which I can beat, or a pocket pair like 8s or something, which I can also beat. Or he has a busted draw and once again thinks I'll fold my hand because I'm tight.

That's exactly what he has here. He shows {5-Spades} - {8-Spades} for nothing, and I take down a $24 pot thanks to his busted bluff.

It turns out he had a really strong draw. In fact he was a favorite over my hand. But his bet on the river made no sense. I couldn't put him on a hand that would match the strength of his bet on the river, and sure enough, I was right.

Sometimes you have to call on a board that looks scary when bells are going off in your head. Sometimes, when you answer those bells, you'll knock out your opponent with a killer call.

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