Building a Poker Style

You see a lot of different styles of play at the poker tables, and I think many very different, seemingly opposite approaches can do fairly well. Many people just kind of naturally find they prefer to play a certain way. I like to create very different playing styles and try them out, and I think it’s fun, good practice, and makes it harder for your opponents when all of a sudden you’re doing everything differently.

So I thought I’d just go through some of the things I try to decide on when creating a new style. I’m sure I’ll miss some stuff I should be thinking about: other’s ideas are very welcome.

  • pre-flop ranges: Deciding what hands I’ll open from each specific seat is usually the first thing I decide on. I’ll also think about how I might add or subtract hands based on table conditions like effective stack depth, the presence or lack of other players that are aggressive pre-flop, and other player’s calling frequencies. Along with this are flatting ranges in different seats and/or in the presence of prior limps, and of course how I’ll respond to 3 bets, or facing a raise in front (though for me this is usually less fixed, and more a function of what kind of ranges I think I’m facing from a specific player).
  • pre flop bet sizing: I don’t modify this quite as frequently as some of the other things, but it is certainly an element of style, and something I like to deliberately decide on.
  • post flop bet sizing: This tends to be a much more difficult and complex decision than pre-flop sizing. What conditions do I want before betting big or betting small? Do I want to mostly bet small on all dry boards, and choose larger sizes on wetter boards? How will I adjust my sizing based on the number of opponents still in the hand? Do I want to just use a small number of bet sizes, or am I in the mood to have a very large variety?
  • aggression rates: I like to target specific ratios for value bets versus bluffs. I’ll adjust that facing certain types of players, but barring adjustments, I like to have a baseline. I’ll typically make this target different for every bet size, and for every street. I’m honestly not very good at really hitting my targets: I think it’s best controlled by thinking about the right hands in range to play each role (some hands that are good for big value bets, others that are good for smaller bets, and others that are good for large bluffs), and splitting some hands between different rolls. Also impacting aggression ratios is how often I’ll take more defensive lines, postponing bets to later streets, and how often I’ll expand my value betting range to include more middle strength hands.
  • range construction: This is already mentioned in the bullet above, but deserves about 15 bullets. I think this is the hardest part about poker: deciding in advance what hands in your range should be taking what lines on different types of boards.
  • tactical tricks: What tactical tricks do I want to regularly employ? Do I want to frequently attack paired or wet boards? Do I want to use a lot of check raises? Do I want to limp/raise pre-flop? These and many other similar tools are also elements in a playing style worth considering.
  • stickyness: I don’t always consider this as part of the style building process, but I think that as the bullets above change, you’ll also want to change how much you over or under fold in the face of aggression against you. Many super aggressive players tend to really fold out a lot of their range just as soon as they face return aggression, while players that regularly under represent their hands will often get a bit stickier. This can also be related to what kind of implied odds you’ll be typically getting (how often opponents will pay you a lot if you hit some big outs).

Hope others find that a little useful in coming up with their own playing styles.

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I am new in “this world” and I did not imagine considering so many things. But I want to learn and be a good rival, I am very analytical but when deciding whether to bet or not, I do the wrong thing (twice I have stayed at zero … grrr)

Thank you for sharing your style.

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Thank you for such detailed descriptions of the styles of behavior. Recently have been increasingly playing poke with friends, so will definitely try to apply my knowledge in practice.

Sample Style: Super Tight

A good one for the risk averse, and for those playing in very aggressive low stake environments where just sitting back and playing premium hands can be an effective strategy. You’ll still run into bad beats like everyone else, but when you do enter a pot, the odds will be stacked in your favor over the long haul.

  • pre-flop opening ranges by seat:
    • ignore limpers… you are playing such tight ranges that you don’t need to tighten further because of limpers
    • With a raise in front, use the range two seats prior to where you are, and always raise with the hands in seat 6. Never call a raise in front except from the button, or when last to act (no one behind you might possibly raise). Even as the button or last to act, most raise or fold. Hands that can be good to call with are smaller pocket pairs, suited aces, and suited connectors.
    • With limps in front, you can call some of the time with some of your small pairs and suited aces or suited connectors (your choice whether to stick to the ranges below to continue, or to expand this a bit). Do this less if it is common at the table to have other players make pre-flop raises over limps.
    • 6 (first to act at a 9 player table: AA-QQ (pocket aces, kings, and queens), AKs (ace king suited)
    • 5: AA-JJ, AK (ace king, suited or unsuited), AQs
    • 4: AA-TT, AK-AQ, AJs
    • 3: AA-99, AK-AJ, ATs, KQs
    • 2 (high jack): AA-88, AK-AT, A9s, KQs, KJs
    • 1 (cut off): AA-77, AK-A9, A8s, A5s, KQ, KJs, KTs, QJs, JTs
    • 0 (button): AA-66, AK-A8, A7s-A2s, KQ-KT, QJ-QT, JT, T9s, 98s, 87s
    • SB: Use seat 3 and raise with all of these. On passive tables you can limp with the rest of the button hands, but especially if the big blind is a really active player, just dump the rest. This seat has the biggest positional disadvantage on the table.
    • BB: raise with the same seat 3 hands over limpers. If facing a raise and last to act, the button hands make good calls. Seat 4 hands are good enough to raise with (3 bet). Make a full sized raise (you can just use the pot sized bet button). If that feels too aggressive to you, use the seat 5 hands instead.
  • pre-flop sizing: just use the pot sized bet button whenever you have one of the listed hands, and no one in front of you has raised. Make your raises as the small blind a big blind a bit bigger.
  • post-flop bet sizing: bet mostly half pot on dry boards, or where you think your opponent won’t have many hands that will call, and bet mostly pot when there is a larger pool of hands that are behind that will still tend to continue. Typically size these down a bit with more opponents, but still use the normal sizing when you connect strongly with the board.
  • aggression rates: this is a style crafted for those that like playing it a little safer, so aim for a high ratio of value to bluffs. Try to include at least some bluffs, without changing sizing from the bullet above, but keep them moderately rare. Using some of your highest equity draws can be good, say when you think you have 11 outs or more. Feel free to increase this ratio if you’d like to alter the style, if you enjoy playing with more bluffs. Try also to consider how many streets of value a given hand is worth. Top pair with a miserable kicker is not usually worth betting on all 3 streets, unless your opponent is really prone to over defending.
  • range construction: one benefit of betting only value and the strongest bluffs is that you don’t need to think quite so much in range versus range terms, and how to carve your range into various lines on flops of different textures… so don’t worry about this for now.
  • tactical tricks: if you’d like, and feel you could benefit from a few more non-value continuation bets, start betting half pot on paired boards 75% of the time. Just look at the second hand of a nearby clock or cell phone, and if it is in the first 45 seconds, bet.
  • sticky meter: LOW. Over fold. We’re playing it safe here, and nearly all of your bets are value. If someone raises over one of your bets, mostly fold. Obviously call or even raise with the strongest part of your range, but top pair with a medium kicker isn’t strong enough, and against someone that you have no reason to think is bluffy, top pair with top kicker is probably an easy fold.

So that’s an example of one fairly simple, but very effective style. I hope some of you like it. Feel free to tweak it however you’d like and make it your own.

Edit: For some of you that like to play even tighter than this, I’d suggest dropping some of the weaker off suit aces from the later seats. If you’d like to move in the opposite direction, add more high card hands if you are short stacked, and instead more suited and connected cards when you are pretty deep stacked (say over 100 big blinds).

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Good luck to you and all that. Read some more books and all that Ad.inf. and all that. When you are a top player of any sort i will humbly accept your words of wisdom.

LOL, you should have seen the original posts before the moderators got to them.

Style 2: Constant Jabs

Here’s another style I’ve tried in the past with a pretty good BB/100 win rate on medium stakes here. I have yet to try it on high or elite, but should probably give it a spin on my Comparing Simple Strategies thread some day.

It’s a loose aggressive style that makes a lot of small bets (mostly bluffs), typically making slightly larger bets on each street, with occasional larger bets that will also be a mix of bluffs and value.

  • pre-flop bet sizing: go a bit smaller, since you will be opening much more frequently, and with weaker hands. The half pot button is your friend (though you can go a little larger than that when you’d like).
  • pre-flop ranges by seat:
    • 6: TT+, AK, SB (suited broadway, where both cards are ace through ten); 50% of the time: 22+, A5s-A4s, T9s
    • 5: 99+, AQ+, SB, A8s+, A5s-A4s; 50%: 22+, A7s-A6s, T9s-54s
    • 4: 88+, AQ+, A4s+, K9s+, QTs+, JTs-54s; 50%: 22+, AJo, A3s, KQo
    • 3: 77+, AJ+, A3s+, KQ, K9s+, QTs+, J9s+, T9s-54s; 50%: 22+, K8s, ATo, KJo, KTo, T8s
    • 2: 66+, AT+, A2s+, KJ+, K8s+, Q9s+, J9s+, T8s+, 98s-54s; 50%: 22+, K7s-K6s, broadway
    • 1: 22+, A9+, broadway, A2s+, K4s+, Q8s+, J8s+, T7s+, 97s+, 86s+, 76s-54s; 50%: A8o, Q6s, 53s
    • 0: 22+, A3+, K8+, Q9+, J9+, T8+, 98, Q2s+, J4s+, T6s+, 96s+, 85s+, 75s+, 64s+
    • SB (small blind): use button range if no limpers, and tighten by 2 seats for every limper, limping behind with the rest of the button range
    • facing limps from other seats: tighten raising range 1 seat for every 2 limpers in front, and limp behind with anything left in your actual seat or the seat behind; ignore 1 limper (unless they limp raise a lot)
  • post-flop sizing: mostly 20% pot on flop, 30% on turn, and 40% on river; increase sizing on wetter boards with some of your strongest hands and stronger draws, using double to triple the normal size for that street.
  • aggression rates: to pick checking hands, about 60% of your checking range should be trash, 30% marginal value, and 10% trap. If aggressor/defender roles flip, move to new percentage. The rates below apply to your smaller bets. In spots with lower aggression rates, fire bets in situations where the board is less favorable to your opponent’s range.
    • prior street aggressor, IP (in position): 90%
    • aggressor, OP (out of position): 80%
    • defender, IP: 60% (if no continuation bet) or 30% (if CB)
    • defender, OP: 25%
  • range construction: We’ve already addressed this a little above concerning what hands to check with or bet larger with, and so the small bets are everything else
  • tactical tricks: you’re going to be betting a lot with this one, and so if you can think of an excuse to bet, use it
  • sticky meter: LOW. Don’t get sticky unless you have strong reason to suspect your opponent is behind you. You’re applying a lot of constant pressure. Most players will only raise over your bets with strong value, and you can just happily fold. There will be some players that will break this mold, and that, realizing that most of your bets are air, will raise back with air. Take your time identifying these players, but eventually you can raise back with low equity draws as a way of defending.

Again, this is meant more as a suggestion for something people can try out, rather than as a prescription for how poker should be played. This style can be a sort of framework for players that like to be more active, playing more hands. This will see more volatility in results than the previous style, which can lead to frustration, but you’ll also get a lot more post flop practice, and will probably see your poker skills improve faster.

The most common style of play seen in the highest entry cost tournaments on RP is the “RP calling station strategy.”

Key points will include:

  1. Limp any qualifying hand from any position. Any hand that is Q2 suited or better qualifies.
  2. Call any raise or reraise from any position.
  3. Never raise preflop, even with Aces.
  4. Never bet the flop unless you have top 2 pairs or better.
  5. On the river, bet if you think you have the best hand, or check if you think you are behind. Mostly you will be playing out of position, but you should never bluff. However if you do bluff after missing a draw, always shove in your whole stack.

One would think that this strategy would be easy to defeat, and in a sense it is, except for the fact that fact that Calling Stations hunt in packs.

For example if you have AA and raise to 10 BB preflop and get 4 callers, there is an enhanced probability that one opponent flops two pairs or a flush draw, since it is very possible that all 4 suits are represented. Also remember that no calling station worth his mettle will fold on the flop with anything better than a gutshot draw to bottom straight.

SInce they hunt in packs, there is a good chance that at least one Calling Station will make an early double or triple up and gain a huge stack early on in a tournament by merging stacks with other calling stations and then represent a threat to wipe out your stack. So this gives the impression that Calling Station play is more successful than it is.

The bad news is that Calling Stations usually fade away in the second hour of the tournament, when the limp-call strategy becomes less effective at higher blind levels. A very few Calling Stations may have the ability to switch strategies later in the tournament, and they are dangerous if they have big stacks.

However, if you are a beginner, I highly recommend mastering the Calling Station strategy. It is particularly suitable for beginners because there is no need to calculate odds, or indeed have any knowledge of odds or probability whatsoever and when the flop comes QQ3, you will be ready to amaze your friends and foes with your beautiful boat.

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This is so true it hurts to read it…

LOL. Got a smile from me.

I should add that I’ve been knocked out of maybe a dozen tournaments in a row now without finishing in the money (I’ve been trying to play in them a bit more frequently lately), and so I know how it feels.

Keep at it. The key to winning tournaments is that you have to be aware of the relative stack sizes and style of play of each opponent at your table and of the size of the blinds relative to the stacks at each stage of the tournament. You also need to be aware of your stack size at each change of blinds.

This is why playing the same tournament every day makes it easier, as you will have mostly the same opponents and the same blinds progression every day.

What I often bear in mind is what my position would be if I doubled up.

But even if you do everything right, you still need a modicum of luck in key hands. You need to win some big pots at some point, so you have to take risks. The odds are always well against a player completing a flush or straight draw by the river, but with so many players willing to stake their whole stack on that outcome, it is also the route to play money riches, when it goes your way.

However when you have obtained a big enough stack for your stage of the game, you can be even more selective about taking on stack sized pots, because the more of these races you get into and the more opponents there are in the races, the greater the odds that you will lose one.

On a hand the other day I lost more than half my stack as follows.

I had AT suited and raised preflop and had one caller who had limped in before me, so he was a limp-caller. The flop came T 8 3 ragged, giving me top pair. Opponent checked and I bet half the pot. Opponent then shoved. His stack was a little more than half the size of mine and he did not need to risk his whole stack at that point.

So what hands were beating me? Obviously any pocket pair that had made a set, or perhaps 2 a pairs if he had T 8. Since I held one of the tens, the chances of that were somewhat reduced.

Or he could have something like QT or KT. Or an overpair. Or it could be a bluff. I decided that it was more likely to be a bluff or an inferior hand, as something did not seem right about the betting, so I called, correctly as it turned out, because opponent turned over Q 8 unsuited. Another Q fell on the turn and I lost the pot as opponent hit one of his 6 outs on the turn.

However that is a routine hand in RP tournaments and is not the point of the tale.

After the hand another player at the table commented “nh” (=nice hand). I enquired why that was the case but did not get a response. So opponent made a huge bluff on the flop, was called, and fluked out on the turn, and that was a “nh”?

But I guess from the point of view of a calling station it was a nice hand. You limped in with a weak hand from early position, you called a raise from out of position, putting a significant part of your stack at risk, almost certainly from behind, you flopped second pair, then check raised all-in with no flush or straight draws, and you hit your out on the turn. From the calling station point of view this WAS a very nice hand indeed because you defied the odds.

However I was rather pleased with myself for calling the bluff correctly, and might have won a massive pot and put myself into a leading position in the tournament.

That is the key to tournaments. You will have to take some risks to win huge pots and get among the leaders by the end of the first hour, but you need to pick your fights carefully–for example some flops will be better for you than others and it is better to be in position than out of position.

It is good to raise preflop with superior hands, or hands that have potential to make the nuts, because calling stations will call when the odds are not in their favor. But if you miss the flop it is probably best to slow down, because there is no point in trying to bluff a calling station who has a gutshot draw. You will know soon enough whether he made his draw by whether he bets on the river. If he checks to you at the river, you can now bluff with confidence that he will fold to your inferior hand, having got his enjoyment from seeing the river.

Of course the reason why calling station play is sometimes effective is that calling stations do get dealt hand like AA, KK, QQ, AK just as often as anybody else. However they rarely make the most of these hands and miss opportunities to win large pots by checking down to the river and then placing large bets and not getting paid off unless they are beaten.

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I’m reading this informative thread and I can’t for the life of me decipher the difference between poker strategies in a game and poker styles. A style is one dimensional unique to that player and a strategy is multifaceted to all the players at the table during that game.

So the difference is clear to me.
Thoughts ?

I hadn’t had anything really technical in mind when choosing the word “style” here. But somehow as I play different players, I sometimes get the feeling that the person playing this way must have yellow pants and a big hat with a feather coming out of it, with oversized sunglasses and lots of jewelry. Another player is clearly wearing a dark, 3 piece suit and smoking a cigar.

I think “strategy” may have been, at least in some ways, a better choice of word… but I’m aiming here more for finding ways of playing that different personalities might enjoy, that still tend to be generally effective, and this feels more to me like preferences in fashion. Even in chess, I suppose, you have attacking players, defensive geniuses, players who analyze endless variations, and others that play quickly by feel.

So here I’m hoping to put a few styles of clothing out on display, in the hopes that some of you will find something that suits your tastes.

Thank you for your explanation. So In other words you’re using that old saying “ presentation is everything “ ( at least at the poker table ) and how you “ suit up “ differentiates your playing style instead of your strategy.

Got it. Thank you again.

Style 3: The Relentless Calling Station

I’ve tried a style like this a few times, and find myself just giving up in frustration. It is not so much that I lose chips doing this, but that I find it kind of like wearing a really garish Christmas sweater in early Spring… it just doesn’t feel like what I want to be wearing.

But there are some out their that love this particular fashion statement, and a few that do it and are able to win chips up to fairly high levels (I see some players that do well on elite stakes with variations of this).

In general, you’ll be playing far too many hands, and getting way too sticky with too many of them, relying on others to pay you off big when you hit. You need to consider stack depth with this style, and also how willing various opponents will be to pay you off big when you hit.

  • pre-flop bet sizing: smaller raises again, as you will be opening far too many hands, especially from early position.
  • pre-flop ranges by seat: note that you’ll need to be a bit more flexible with these ranges, dropping speculative hands when there aren’t potential callers with deep stacks, or when there aren’t opponents inclined to pay off big
    • 6: 22+, AQ+, SB (suited broadway, where both cards are ace through ten), A2s+, T9s-32s
    • 5: 22+, AJ+, SB, A2s+, KQ, QJ, J9s, T8s+, 97s+, 87s-32s
    • 4: 22+, AJ+, A2s+, KJ+, QJ, JT, K9s+, Q9s+, J8s+, T8s+, 97s+, 86s+, 76s-32s
    • 3: 22+, AT+, A2s+,broadway, K8s+, Q9s+, J8s+, T8s+, 97s+, 86s+, 75s+, 64s+, 53s+, 43s-32s
    • 2: 22+, A9+, A2s+, broadway, K6s+, Q8s+, J7s+, T7s+, 96s+, 85s+, 75s+, 64s+, 53s+, 43s-32s
    • 1: 22+, A8+, broadway, A2s+, K4s+, Q8s+, J7s+, T7s+, 96s+, 85s+, 75s+, 64s+, 53s+, 43s-32s
    • 0: 22+, A2+, K8+, Q9+, J9+, T8+, 98, 87, Q2s+, J4s+, T6s+, 95s+, 84s+, 74s+, 63s+, 53s+, 42s+, 32s
    • SB (small blind): use button range if no limpers, and tighten by 1 seat for every limper, limping behind with the rest of the button range
    • facing limps from other seats: tighten raising range 1 seat for every 2 limpers in front, and limp behind with anything left in your actual seat or the seat behind; ignore 1 limper (unless they limp raise a lot)
    • defending against 3 bets: as long as the 3 bet won’t create a low SPR: call, call, call – there’s nothing better than being behind to a really good hand that will pay you their stack when your 32 suited becomes a full house on the flop of 332
  • post-flop sizing: mostly 40% pot on flop, 60% on turn, and pot on river; increase sizing on wetter boards with some of your strongest hands and stronger draws, using 1.5 to 2x the normal size for that street.
  • aggression rates:
    • fire flop continuation bets around 80% of the time. Check with a normal mix of complete trash, marginal value, and strong traps
    • fire turn continuation bets around 60%, here dropping most all of your trash with no equity, many of your middle strength hands, and some strong draws
    • slam it home on the river with all of your strongest value – most of these players never bluff on the river; you can if you want to, but it might be like wearing a tie with a tank top
    • when defending, call with almost any draw as long as stacks behind give you the necessary implied odds when you hit, and you can even call some all in bets on the flop or the turn with draws without the odds you need as a kind of reverse balance: you’re giving them license to make big bets in the future without the absolute nuts, so that you can call more profitably with other value hands, and you can also tilt a lot of people, making a lot of profit on subsequent hands
  • range construction: We don’t think about range construction with this style (obviously I’ve already addressed it a little in the bullets above… wipe that from your memory)
  • tactical tricks: out draw your opponent
  • sticky meter: HIGH. Fold freely when you have absolutely nothing; but bottom pair, or a gut shot straight draw with one over card against a pot sized bet: easy call

Be prepared to be verbally abused when playing this style, as this violates many of the other player’s fashion sense. You’ll tilt half of the table, probably, but that’s part of the profit.

Note that for this style to be effective, you must be able to win some very big pots when you hit super strong hands to make up for all of the money you are throwing away trying to see flops with trash hands. So it is important that you have people that will pay you big on the river even though you never bluff on that street, and that stacks be pretty deep, so that payoff can be really big.

Note that it almost feels like this is some kind of sarcasm, as this all goes very much against almost everything in print about poker. And yes, I don’t think this would fair well at all against a pool of pros… but hey, the reality is that most of your opponents on this site are not pros, and that there are many players that will hand you their stacks when you hit on the river.

I thought you correctly described “style” in your OP as

“… Many people just kind of naturally find they prefer to play a certain way. …”

A player’s strategy to me means their play adjusts based on the cards being played.

Your description of

“I hadn’t had anything really technical in mind when choosing the word “style” here. But somehow as I play different players, I sometimes get the feeling that the person playing this way must have yellow pants and a big hat with a feather coming out of it, with oversized sunglasses and lots of jewelry. …”

It appears you’ve been playing against Elton John.

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Good post, but I have to disagree on a couple of points.

  1. Never raise preflop, or you will give away the strength of your hand. The rule is to limp and then call as necessary. I saw a nice example of this tonight, where the small blind limped in, then BB miniraised and everyone called, and there was some small betting on the flop. The turn was an ace, and the river was also an ace.

The small blind then shoved the river, and got a caller who was slow playing Broadway on the turn, and the small blind turned over AA to make 4 aces and won a nice pot! Classic Calling Station play. (Actually even if the player with broadway had shoved the turn, the small blind could still have called of his whole stack as he had 10 outs on the river.)

The only possible problem with slow playing a pair of aces in a six-way pot is that you will not always make quad aces on the river.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/775136749

  1. Never make continuation bets. In fact never bet the flop at all with anything less than top two pairs, Your aim is first of all to get to the river, and then bet big if you think you still are ahead. If you make top pair on the flop and check the flop, an opponent with a pocket pair may well take stabs at the pot on both flop and turn if he believes you are chasing a flush or straight, and if he doesn’t make a set by the river, you should win a nice pot as he may think you missed a draw and bet the river too.

LOL… I’ll agree that never raising pre-flop is popular with those preferring a similar style, but I think there are also many that make frequent, small raises pre-flop, and myself I prefer that if I do decide to make a run of hands with something similar to this. I also think never raising pre-flop is just bleeding away too much value (although you could fairly argue that many other things in this style are doing that too).

In general, when your raising range is wide, you are doing little to reveal the strength of your hand, especially when your raising range has good board coverage. Even our under the gun raising range here has 278 combinations (13x6 for pocket pairs, 2x16 for AQ+, 6x16 for suited broadway, 10x4 for A2s+, 8x4 for the low suited connectors), and that grows rapidly with each seat.

LOL… I’ve heard of rare cases where you do actually fail not only to flop quads, but even to hit them by the river.

If you are going to play this style and make preflop raises then they should always be minraises. If you make a raise that is bigger than a minraise, you stand a change of knocking out the blinds, and obviously you want to keep them in.

For example in a hand I played tonight Calling Station style player limped in with AA from the cutoff, Calling Station #2 on button called with I know not what, and I checked from the BB with Kx. The flop came KK7, so I shoved my smallish stack, and Calling Station #1 called my bet and turned over AA. I had beginners luck on the run out and made a boat to his two pairs as miraculously no third ace appeared on later streets.

Had he raised to 3BB, I would definitely have folded my Kx.

Seriously now, people really need to think about the reason for raising preflop.

There are two reasons that I can think of.

  1. And this is what you see the pros do a lot. The reason is to thin the field to a single opponent, which makes it a) easier to bluff, b) less likely that an opponent will hit the flop or draw out on you.

  2. The purpose is not to thin the field, but to build the pot preflop, which means that the half pot and pot sized bets on the flop will be much bigger and therefore harder to call.

I am not really a true Calling Station, but I use both kinds of bluffs in tournaments on RP, especially type #2, and here is why:

At the start of tournament the blinds are very low, like 10/20 or 15/30, so it is very cheap to limp, which leads to small pots. Now lets say I pick up a reasonable hand in the BB that has a chance of making the nuts, Let it be KJ suited.

With 4 limpers to me, and the BB at 30 chips, I raise to 200 chips. Naturally all the calling stations will call, so now the pot is 1000 chips and the cost to me was 170 chips, since I already had 30 chips in the BB, so I have odds of 5.9 to 1. This is almost the odds I would need to play low pocket pairs, so pretty good odds preflop. With 5 limpers, I might even achieve the correct odds to play a low pocket pair.

Now the flop may or may not look good for me. If it is a shocker and someone else bets strongly I will throw it away and wait for better luck next time, but if the flop is in my favor, I have a good chance to win a pot of maybe 2000 chips and take my initial stack of 5000 to 7000 that will put me up with the early front runners.

Because most of the players are calling stations, I may also be able to see the turn and river cheaply, but what I am really looking for is a hand that beats top pair on the board, and beats pocket AA. A flush or a straight is best, because it may beat the calling station who had flopped a set and is now slow playing it. However, even a pair of Kings or Jacks may win the pot against calling station players who have made the same hand with a lower kicker.

The point here is that if you are going to win a pot, let it be a big one. You will often see calling station players limping in with AA, making a set on the flop, then winning a small pot when no one else wants to bet.

Paradoxically, it may be best in the same scenario, if you have AA early in a tournment, and there are several limps to your big blind to just check preflop. The reason for this is that if you make a big raise, and get several callers, while AA is the best hand preflop, it does not make a lot of straights and flushes, so someone can easily suck out on you, and calling stations never fold a flush draw on the flop.

Better here to check with your AA and wait to see how the flop looks for you. If it is ragged and Q high, then the only danger is a set or two pairs and you are good to go. If you make a set, no one, especially the opponent with the case Ace, will have any idea at all that you have AA and if he makes two pairs, he will be ready to shove and you will likely double up. Another scenario is that if there is a single suited flop and you have one of the aces, then you have a very good chance of winning a huge pot if a 4th member of that suit decides to shows up on a later street.

On a low flop, you may well find an opponent with another pocket pair like 8s or 9s shoving on the flop and you may have to take a chance that he does not have a set. And even if he does have a set and you lose, remember that it was fated, because he would never have folded a pocket pair preflop no matter how large your raise.