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What is a “Calling Station”?
Usually it’s a derogatory term used to describe a particularly unimaginative “loose-passive” player. The “calling station” is loose because he plays lots of hands, more than the average.He is passive because he rarely opens with bets or raises others’ bets, but instead is content to call repeatedly, often remaining in hands all of the way to the showdown.
Low-stakes games commonly are inhabited by calling stations, both online and in live poker rooms. Players in such games are often encouraged to keep calling bets thanks to the low limits.
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Josh Cahlik recommends a strategy for playing against with loose-aggressive players that involves tightening up one’s playing style, practicing patience, and setting traps in order to get paid off with big hands Josh describes a hand in which he made a monster, but only made a small turn bet and then checked the river, letting his aggressive opponent make a big river shove and then calling to win a nice pot.
Against a calling station, you also need to practice patience and set traps. However, unlike with aggressive opponents, against calling stations you’ll need to be taking the initiative by betting your made hands yourself, not waiting for them to bet against you. It is important to learn how to get comfortable making the value bet. Unlike a bluff, a value bet is made with the hopes of getting a call, against a calling station, you’ll want to be betting strong hands.
You’ll also want to get in the habit of value betting medium-strength hands. In fact, those will be the hands in which you’re likely to derive the most profit against such opponents.
The calling station can be frustrating to play against because you do generally need to make hands to win against him, and making hands can be difficult.
But the range of made hands with which you can profit against such a player is wide. You don’t need the strongest possible hand to get paid, and even medium-strength hands like second pair can be worth betting, because the range of hands with which he’ll call will include many lesser-strength hands.
Because of the player’s tendency to keep calling you, bluffing is generally not going to be a suggested move against the calling station. There are spots when it is in fact possible to bluff such a player — in tournaments, for instance, when calling you would require the last of such a player’s chips, a well-timed bluff can force a fold.
But the calling station is generally always looking for a reason to call you, so bluffing is often not going to be recommended.
The calling station has a style that is exploitable. Value betting medium-to-strong hands is a primary way to exploit such players, as is avoiding non-straightforward plays
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How to Play Against Calling Stations