When to Raise and When to Call


A call can be defined as putting cash in the pot so as to match a bet that has been previously made before one's turn to act. When to call is very important decision and can make a lot of difference to the amount won or lost. The types of call and the time to make that call are as follows:

Cold Call:

When the pot is raised before you get a turn to act, you need to call the original bet and the raise. This is referred to as cold calling. If the pot is re-raised before the turn to act, it will require three cold call bets so as to enter the pot. It is advisable not to cold call any raises unless we have a very powerful hand. One needs to have a stronger hand so as to call a raise than to initiate one. If there is need to cold call three bets, it would be prudent to have very strong hand like pair of Kings or Aces because it can be easily figured out that the opponent who re-raised must be having strong hand as well.

Calling the Flop:

The flop defines a player's hand simply because after the flop is played, a player's hand will be about 71% complete. One can use Fit or Fold method to decide to call a bet or not, after seeing the flop. In case the flop fits the hand, then one needs to go ahead and continue. If no fit is found, it is prudent to fold and not call a bet. In case there is a raise, one needs to read the table very carefully. If there are three suited cards or it is paired and there is only a marginal hand, then there is no need to call a raise.

Calling at Turn:

If a player gets to the turn and he is holding two unsuited cards which are higher than any cards in the game (also called over-cards) and with no straight draw or flush, then the player should fold in case there is bet. Hell lot of money is lost by those who try to catch a miracle card on the river. The best hand one can make using two unsuited over-cards is a pair which in any case is going to lose. If an opponent raises on the turn and there is only one pair, it is prudent to fold as you are likely to get beaten. You should call when you can determine that the opponents are on a draw. In this situation, learning how to read the table comes handy. But generally, players do not raise on the turn unless they have a hand.

Calling on the River:

After getting to the river, there are chances of committing two mistakes. One, you may call a losing bet which is likely to cost you the price of bet. The other mistake is to fold the hand, which is likely to cost all the cash in the pot. To fold hand will obviously be more costly error as compared to calling a bet. In case there is flicker of chance of having a winning hand, then one can call.

So, calling requires great anticipation and judgment skill and you should call when there are chances of winning. You may not win all the time you make a call, but with selective hands, there are chances that majority of the calls may result in profit.

When to Raise

It is very important to know when to raise and why to raise, other important decisions relating to making a raise include when and why to re-raise or check and raise while playing poker as it can lead to higher profit or great loss.

When a player thinks he has the best hand, he is likely to raise so as to increase the pot. But there are other times when a player can raise. By raising at pot, one becomes predictable. In order to win big pots, one needs to be unpredictable. If a player has strong hand in early position, most likely he would raise. Raising conveys message that the hand is stronger one. It is advisable to raise and fold more often.

A raise can also be very useful while trying to force opponents out of the current hand though it requires some knowledge about calculating odds. Also, when considering raising, position should be a primary factor in deciding whether to raise or not as hands which are likely to lose moderately from early position win from late positions. In short, raise for gaining position. Also, raising on flop in late position in order to receive free card on promising hands is often profitable.

Thus, raising in poker is one of the greatest strategic weapons in order to receive important information about your foes and their hands.


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