Poker strategy: Cold Calling in NL Hold’em Part 2

Cold calling part II

As recommended by Sklansky in ‘Small stakes hold’em’ I’d like to highlight an important section in the book, in my opinion, that I’ve really started to consider in my own game.  Enjoy;

“You should cold-call a raise only rarely, especially if you are the first to do so.  For instance, we recommend cold-calling a raise in a tight game with only AQs, AJs and KQs (also sometimes medium and small pocket pairs and suited connectors when three or more players have already entered the pot.)  every other hand you play against a raise you should usually reraise. (AA-1010, AKs, and AK.)”

“To give you an idea about how infrequently you should cold call, you will be dealt one of these three suited hands once every 110 hands you play.  To cold call, you cannot be in the blind or under the gun, and someone has to raise in front of you.  All those conditions might occur twenty percent of the time.  That will leave you in a cold calling situation once every 550 hands.  If you play live, you might get 35 hands per hour.  Thus, one of these cold calling situations might arise once every 15 hours or so!”

“Even if you add the calls with small pocket pairs and suited connectors and the extra calls you make when your game is very loose, you still probably should not cold call a raise more often than once every three hours.  If you find that you cold call as little as three or four times per sessions (on a barrage), you are cold calling too much.  Either you are playing too many hands against a raise (a devastating error) or you are playing too passively with your premium hands (not as devastating, but an error none the less).”




“One of the first things you should watch for when you first sit in a game is the cold calling frequency.  You will find many players who cold call ten, twenty, or even fifty times per session. No strategy that performs even marginally well includes so much cold calling.  These players are simply hemorrhaging money.  Seek them out, don’t emulate them.” (Small stakes hold’em)


Breaking even...

All though the results aren’t showing me as a winning player at this time, I’m enjoying my poker, playing well (in my opinion) and about breaking even with a $100 bankroll.  I think in time, with persistence and perseverance, against these players who play a lot of bad starting hands, the results will eventually emerge.  One thing that is happening is that I build a stack and then just before I’m about to leave the table I get suckered by an unpredictable play by an opponent.  For example.  I held AJ from late position with three limbers before me.  I raised pre flop and everyone called.  The flop came A clubs 8 diamonds 9 diamonds.  There were two tiny raises before me and I re raised the maximum pot (not all in).  I got one called. The 7 of diamonds hit the turn and my opponent checked as did I.  The river was an 8 and he bet half the pot.  I instantly called and he showed me with K diamonds and 2 diamonds.  Just a totally random hand to hold! And I ended up losing $4/5 dollars.  Still I’ll keep playing....

Here are some of my winning hands last night;

Just imagine the dial of a thermometer going slightly up and then down again and not really moving as the temperature of the room changes slightly and then cools down to a mild room temperature...that is me with my poker results at the moment; but I’m happy because at least I’m not losing!

A nice double up with the nut flush draw...ALL IN!

This was my hand of the night and provides me with the inspiration for my next post.  What is better, a flush draw or a straight draw? And why?  Also, I’ll look at what hand do ‘made’ straights fear the most?

Next up: What’s better?  A flush draw or a straight draw?

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I have been playing poker for about 15 years. I play online currently and I've played poker in casinos, card rooms, local games and with friends. I play NL hold'em tournaments and cash games and can also play Pot Limit Omaha, a game I also love.
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