[NL2-NL10] Instructional sample hands #1

    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      This weeks main topic will be how to play against calling stations. In general calling stations are very comfortable opponents because it is very easy to play against them, especially because hand ranges are not as important as they are against other opponents. But there are a few difficulties which cause some trouble for many users. And this is what we are going to change.


      How to play against calling stations:

      I) Value betting and isolation

      0.10/0.25 No-Limit Hold'em (6 handed)

      Preflop: Hero is CO with K :spade: , J :spade:
      MP2 folds, MP3 calls $0.25, Hero raises to $1.25, 3 folds, MP3 calls $1.00.

      Flop: ($2.85) J :heart: , A :club: , 5 :heart: (2 players)
      MP3 checks, Hero bets $2.20, MP3 calls $2.20.

      Turn: ($7.25) 8 :diamond: (2 players)
      MP3 checks, Hero bets $5.00, MP3 calls $5.00.

      River: ($17.25) Q :heart: (2 players)
      MP3 checks, Hero checks.

      Final Pot: $17.25

      Of course our preflop raise is standard even against TAGs or LAGs. Especially against a calling station isolation raises are more important. As the name implies these players are calling way too much so they will often enter the pot with weak hands. In this situation our raise has two advantages. On the one hand we push our equity against this player and on the other hand we are getting in a very favourable position to play heads up in a raised pot in position against a bad player.
      Position is also the reason why continuation bets should be avoided especially because more often calling stations will give us the opportunity to take a free card (also on the turn).
      In this example we hit middle pair which is a quite strong hand against calling stations. We bet the flop for value and protection.
      CRUCIAL: It is wrong to think that protection is not important against opponents who will call every kind of draw anyway – protection also means that we want our opponents to call if their call is wrong. This will improve our EV a lot !
      His call on the flop could mean a lot of things: most of the time he will have a pair of aces, jacks or fives. There could be a gutshot or a flush draw in his hand as well and in extreme cases we can´t even rule out backdoor-draws or K high.
      The turn card is a blank and that means that we are in a good position to extract some more value. We bet the flop again because its unlikely that the 8 changed the situation we are into. Villain calls again.
      The river is a really bad card for us: a flush draw and a gutshot draw completed. KT has a straight now, QT just made a higher pair and QJ beats us too. Sometimes calling stations won´t bet the river with these hands and most of the time they will play c/c even with a flush. Therefore we decide to check behind because we would have to risk our whole stack if we bet the river. A calling station would call a lot of worse hands in this situation but there are just too many draws possible which would have been completed at the river.
      After another blank on fifth street we should think about a value bet. E.g. an ace with a medium kicker would be a value push on the river.


      II) We got raised. What to do now?

      0.10/0.25 No-Limit Hold'em (6 handed)

      Preflop: Hero is MP2 with A , Q
      Hero raises to $1.00, MP3 folds, CO calls $1.00, 2 folds, BB calls $0.75.

      Flop: ($3.10) Q , 9 , 7 (3 players)
      BB checks, Hero bets $2.10, CO calls $2.10, BB folds.

      Turn: ($7.30) J (2 players)
      Hero bets $5.00, CO raises to $12.00, Hero folds.

      Final Pot: $24.30

      Preflop and flop play should be pretty standard. On a closer inspection we should notice some differences to hand number 1. The pot is multiway now and we are out of position (OOP) against the calling station.
      As already mentioned there was nothing special about the preflop and the flop play but on the turn we have to choose another line as we would play against a lot of other opponents. Most of the time we would check/call for pot control against unknown, TAGs or LAGs and maybe check/raise against some fishes.
      But when we face a calling station a bet/fold line is the best variant. You wonder why ?
      A calling station would only raise strong made hands in this situation (2 pair or better). After he called the flop we can put him on any pair or a gutshot (KT would have a straight now) or a hand like QJ, Q9, J7 or J9.
      Theoretical the turn cards gives a good opportunity to hands like OESDs or pair + flush draw etc. But calling stations nearly never semibluff and this means that we are most likely behind against a better made hand. So its an easy fold. Especially because we are most likely drawing slim (or drawing dead) if we are behind.

      What is a calling station and how should I play against those opponents?

      - calling stations never (semi-) bluff
      - calling stations call way too loose (even backdoor draws)
      - in general they are bad players

      this means that:
      -> bet/fold is better than check/call because calling stations will call a lot of worse hands but will only raise better hands most of the time
      ->isolation raises are very profitable because we want to be in position
      ->to get as much money as possible against calling station we have to make loose value bets
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