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  • September 29, 2020

Online Poker Dictionary: Hero Call

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What is a Hero Call? When a poker player makes a risky marginal call solely based on a read or gut feel.
Often times in a poker game, a player will make a big river raise representing the nuts. This will even come from a very nitty player that 99% of the time does this with the nuts and is only bluffing the other 1%. A hero call is when a player realizes when that 1% is happening and makes the very difficult call.
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An  example the table is deep-stacked and everyone has limped round to the player in the big blind position who has made a big raise. The other players fold but you decide to call from the small blind with 6♦ 4♦. The flop is Q♣ 10♥ 2♦ so you could be forgiven for thinking you’re done with the hand.
But then the player who raised pre-flop decides to check. They’re either trying to get some value out of you or they’ve just missed out on the hand they were expecting from the flop. The turn gives a 7♦ and you both check again.
The river brings a 6♠ so you’ve got a pair, but it’s only the fourth-best pair on the board so you check again. Suddenly, your opponent bets just under the pot. This is confusing behaviour, as they could just turn over their hand for free if they are confident of winning the pot. If they had a big hand they could have raised you earlier and got more money out of you. You call and win the hand after your opponent shows A♠ K♥. You have just made a hero call!
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As with everything in poker, you have to adjust to the players, the table and the hand. If you’re out of position and have tried to control the pot , be aware that you look weak to your opponent and they might use that to their advantage. Be prepared to call a lot more on the river, even if a scary looking card appears.
If a scare card appears on the river after you’ve called or checked your way through the hand and your opponent still puts money in the pot, you’re in a conundrum. They might have a big hand, trying to get you to give up some money, or they might be trying to force you out. Use the pot odds to decide if it’s worth taking the risk.
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