Let’s face it – pub poker is full of calling stations. The high majority of general pub poker players are there for a cheap night’s entertainment and to play cards, and they can’t play cards if they keep folding their hands can they?
A calling station is basically a player who doesn’t like to bet or raise but is happy to call your bets and raises. They are typically a loose passive player. Whilst they generally never lead out or bet they will call you down if they hit anything on the flop.
You should always aim to play in position against calling stations (you want to act after them).
Their play style
Calling stations are going to see the flop a super high percentage of the time. Their preflop hand range is super wide and usually consists of any pair, any connecting cards, any 2 suited cards and any picture card (even with a rag). Due to this wide selection of possible hands they will play its typically very hard to get them to fold preflop.
When it comes to the flop, if they have hit the board and make a pair, flopped a draw of some kind then they will call you down. Typically if they just have over cards they will also call down to see the river. Again like preflop if they have hit the flop in any way they’re typically not going to fold.
Some calling stations will even call down with any pocket pair – even if there are higher cards on the board beating their pair.
Bet for value
The great thing about calling stations is that you will make money and chips playing against them. They are great to value bet against when you have made hands due to the fact that they very rarely fold.
With calling stations you never want to bet small when you have a strong hand, and when I say strong I don’t just mean AK or similar I mean a strong made hand – remember they will call you down with most pairs, so betting Ace high on the flop isn’t always going to be a great move.
You do need to remember though that calling stations will be chasing their draws, you cannot stop this (unless maybe going all in) so you want to make sure when you bet you don’t make it cheap for them to chase their draws.
By making your best pot sized when they call chasing their draws they will be statistically making a mistake and will be losing more money / chips in the long run by making those calls. Yes they will still hit occasionally just be prepared to fold your hand when the obvious draws get there and they lead out.
These are not players to try and bluff
Remember most calling stations aren’t complete idiots, and you can induce bluffs off them when you are out of position. Checking to them give them the power to try and bluff you off your hand – which is a good way to make a few extra chips from their hand which they would have just folded to your river bet after their draw didn’t get there.
Also be warned of random hands though like 2 pair with a picture card and rag card. If you only have a single pair hand and the calling station shows aggression on KhTc7s 5c 2h come the river chances are they’ve got a hand like K2s or K5 and made a random two pair. Pay attention to their play in pots with people and how they bet these kinds of hands so you can make educated calls.
Make sure you know who the calling stations are
You should be making mental notes of all the players at the table when you start playing, pub poker attracts a wide range of players and play styles.
You need to make sure you can identify which players are the calling stations as you’ll need to know which players you can take advantage of. They’re great to play against because you’re typically going to be the one taking control of the hands and the betting. Giving you the ability to control the pot sizes.
- Make value bets
- Show down good hands
- Don’t bluff