Mike Sexton, one of the World Poker Tour Hosts and a personal friend, is fond of saying, "He's just calling off his chips."
Poker players' number one question is, "Should I check, call, raise or fold?" Knowing when to use each of these tactics correctly is critical to your overall success as a winning poker player. It's that simple.
Tactics are the routine, repeatable activities that make up any business or operation. You might call poker tactics the meat and potatoes of the game. We often hear the word tactics used when talking about a battle in a war. That's what each hand in poker is… a battle in the larger war game of poker.
The question of which poker tactic to use… whether you check, call, fold or raise… depends on several factors including:
- Your relative position to the button
- Your chip stack size
- Your starting hand
- Players who have folded in front of you
- Players left to act behind you
- Your read on players still in the hand
- Your established table image
- Table image of players still in the hand
- Your gut feel or intuition
Calling a bet, referred to as limping or smooth calling, is often the wrong move. If you cannot raise, you probably don’t belong in the pot. If you limp with marginal cards and are raised, you will probably need to muck your hand. Overall, simply calling can cost you more money in the end than it makes you.
When in doubt, remember my motto:
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