Free Poker Lesson on Why, When and How to Make a Good Call

Whether you just play free poker or play for the biggest stakes imaginable a common theme in poker is that aggressive players do all the betting and the raising, and get all the chips!

Players who mainly call are classified as passive. This is because calling puts you into a decision which the bettor hopes you to make.

But there are many reasons why you may want to call, and, as long as you have considered it very carefully, you can call with no shame Online betting malaysia.

Here is one such hand example from a very high stakes WSOP event (Shame on him if he folds):

BLINDS 60k/120k, ante 15k



  • A has 5h-5d, raised to 310k (under the gun)
  • B has Kc-10c, calls 310k (from middle position)


A’s raise from under the gun signifies a strong hand, but let us add that A is a strong aggressive player (somewhat on the loose side) who can represent any hand.

In addition, A can make everyone fold. B with his K-10 suited is ideal for calling, and he does just that.

With K-10, one should be more careful if a King comes up. With a King, A may have K-J or A-K (A-K, especially from a raise under the gun). I don’t think B is aware of this, maybe because he hasn’t seen the Flop yet. Here it is:

FLOP: 10d-4c-2d

Now only a Ten comes, which is more favorable for B. Those who don’t have flush draws with 2 Diamonds might play J 10 or 10 9 strongly, plus the King kicker is real powerful.

A bets 535k

Because A raised under the gun, he tries a continuation bet. If he gets called, he can put B on a flush draw or a small pair (like 7-7), so he can frisk away later with not much loss.

But B may want to end the hand with his Pair of Tens, probably because overcards can fall. Moreover, A has been too aggressive all throughout, as we said, and it may be with two face cards or A-x, so B returns A’s favor:


  • B raises to 1.61m
  • A needs 1.075m to call


Because A has been representing a strong hand so far (raising under the gun and continuation-betting), he might as well stay consistent. Moreover, A may think that B raised because he thought A had nothing, and he is trying o push A out of the pot with something like K-J or a Flush draw.

As for the possibility of a Ten in B’s hand, why would A think B had a Ten? Even if B did, he would just call (commonly) and then check-check it all the way, because a Pair of Tens is not so strong, especially if faced with a three-bet like this:


  • A moves all-in 3.075m
  • B needs 2.5m to call (Pot now about 7.5m)


Maybe A moved all-in because his Pair of Fives have value on a board with only one overcard and whose caller may have a Flush draw. In this case, the caller may still be reluctant because even with a Flush draw with two overcards, it’s still a draw. But he might also be thinking that B is playing him, so he plays back.

Now B is put on the decision which calls for a call.

Here are B’s reasons why he may not call (which B may be thinking, but which will be my reasons for so doing):

(1) A three-bet plus all-in may signify J-J or higher, which is very likely if only small cards are on the table. Or: even a Set which A may have used to trap with.

(2) He is getting approximately 3-to-1 on a call (2.5 million to win approximately 7.5 million), but he should call only if he is getting 4-to-1 (21% chance of hitting Two-Pair or Trips), which is the right price.

(3) If he calls, he will have six 6 million or so chips left. If he does not call though he will have about 8.5 million left, a relatively small loss on a stack of nearly 10 million).

Now here are B’s reasons why he should call:

(1) He can knock out an opponent who has proven to be very dangerous so far.

(2) Maybe A is the one on a Flush draw. Or maybe a Flush draw with two overcards where both of them have nearly equal chance of winning. So it’s OK.

(3) Maybe A put B on a Flush draw and decided to push B out of the pot instead of letting a Diamond emerge. So A’s all-in is just a bluff now.

(4) Maybe A put B on a bluff and decided to counter-bluff.

(5) With only one overcard which is not so likely to be in someone’s hand just as a face card is, B may put A on a pocket pair 5-5 to 9-9. In that case, he has a better Pair (Tens).

(6) He can lift himself up to 14 million chips after this.

(7) It is because B’s guts says so.

With these things in B’s mind, but still brewing over the cons, B tried hard to decide. For a long time he stared at his opponent and the Board. He commented first, You may hate me for this,” but then added, as if nothing but instinct prompted him, “but I call.”

B calls 2.5m (Pot just above 9 million)

A is in trouble now. B won the hand and knocked out A (who is Antonio Esfandiari! B is Steven Begleiter).

B may be neutral in choosing between folding and calling, but if I’ll call, I’ll call not solely because of value of the Tens, but because of the above reasons.

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