Beating calling stations can be relatively easy. All you need is a strategy that would punish their inability to fold. Here are two simple adjustments that can help you win against these anti-fold players.
1. GO FOR THIN VALUE BETS MORE OFTEN
Value-betting with medium strength holdings might be the most profitable adjustment we can make when playing against someone who isn’t a fan of folding.
The challenge for us is to be attentive enough to know when we can take advantage of this opportunity.
In a live ₱50/₱100 game
Hero raises to ₱500 in middle position with T♦ T♣
Villain calls in the cutoff.
Flop (₱1,150): 8♠ 3♥ 6♣
Hero bets ₱400. Villain calls.
Turn (₱1,950): Q♦
Hero bets ₱750. Villain calls.
River (₱3,450): 5♦
Hero bets ₱4,500. Villain calls and mucks 9♠ 9♦
Although this hand might be an exaggerated scenario, it still shows why the benefits of betting for value even though a scary card appears is superior to checking. Minimizing loses often takes a back-seat specially when playing against calling stations who are willing to call-down with worse hands.
2. REDUCE BLUFFING
There should be minimal bluffing involved when playing against fold-averse players. Most attempts to push calling-stations off pots ends up in misery.
Patience is necessary. Bluffing relentlessly because you’ve been card dead for hours won’t do much help against players who make more calls than telemarketers.
In a live ₱50/₱100 game with a ₱20,000 effective stack
Hero is raises to ₱400 in the button with T♣ 9♣
Villain calls in the big blind.
Flop (₱850): Q♣ J♣ 7♠
Villain donks ₱500. Hero raises to ₱2500.
Turn (₱5,850): 5♦
Villain checks. Hero bets ₱4,000
River (₱13,850): 2♥
Villain checks. Hero shoves ₱13,000.
Villain calls and shows Q♥ 8♥
Hero’s line was quite standard. However, an exploitative adjustment that veers away from bluffing the calling-station is superior to standard play.
Of course calling-stations do fold. These scenarios come up when they miss their draws or when sometimes they’re simply uninterested in the pot.
The key is to be able to put them in a range of hands and only bluff when majority of their holdings are air.
Keep in mind that everything is relative in poker. A smart calling-station might start adapting when he realizes that you are already beating him with your adjustments.
The key to winning is to play a well thought-out strategy that capitalizes on your opponents’ mistakes.