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You Can't Bluff Me

Playing Against Calling Stations

There is a term that floats around the poker world termed a “Calling Machine” or AKA "Calling Station". What is a calling machine? Simply put a CM is a player that rarely raises, but will call you down all the way to the river with just about any hand. The moment you spot a CM you should get excited that the chips in front of them are soon going to be yours if you play your cards right (no pun intended). Calling Stations have a lot to offer their opponents. They rarely raise unless they have the nuts, they don’t change their game up at all that often and they will chase every single gut shot offered to them.  Why?  Well they usually are sitting on a decent stack of chips and have got lucky on a few gut shots so they think they should just chase every hand down from now on.

To beat a CM it does not take an overwhelming amount of skill but it does take some practice and patience. CM’s are most of the time relatively tight players. By relatively tight I mean they will play a K9 off-suite in early position but fold it in later position for a raise. They will call this down all the way to the river if a King hits the board too. This is why it is so profitable to be on top of this player. When you’re at a table with a deep stacked calling station you have to tighten your game up when they will be in your hand. You have to stop playing junk and you have to be patient and wait for the AK when he has K,10 and the board hits a K. You will get paid of every time to the river, bet after bet as long as you don’t scare him away by being over-aggressive.

CM’s flaw is that they will chase bad odds all the time. Even if they suck out a gut shot on you they were not getting the odds to play it so next time you will come out ahead. You need to look at the long run when playing these players. Don’t ever try to bluff a calling station. I was playing a no limit ring game just the other day when I noticed a deep, deep stack CM. The buy in was $100 and this player had about $700 in front of him. Did he win it all? Maybe. My thought was some of that is coming my way. Anyway this other player gets involved with the CM and on the river makes a bet 2x’s the pot. The calling station thinks for awhile, says “Against my better judgment I call”. and then calls with bottom pair. He wins because the other player was on a stone cold bluff. You can’t bluff a calling station so don’t even try. Just be patient and wait for the right times to take advantage.

     Don P -


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