There is a time and a place for everything. Well, almost for everything. Check/calling with a weak hand gives you a number of advantages. First of all, it gives you the opportunity to peel off another street without bleeding off too many chips and if you check call on two streets in a row then your opponent is going to have to stop and think about what range of hands that you might have.
But the strategy of check/calling with weak hands is one that has to be used in strict moderation. This is because (well, in most cases) you will be losing a good number of these pots and second of all if you continue to check call with weak hands then you are going to have developed the reputation that you are a calling station and opposing players will begin to have no fear in firing barrels at you on every street.
Check/Calling in Limit Versus No Limit Games
Check/calling can be used a lot easier in a limit poker game than it can be used in a no limit holdem game. The reason for this is obvious. It is the size of the bets. In a limit game the bet amount is pre set and, unless there are several players in the hand that are 3-betting and 4-betting, then you will know that you can check/call for a small amount of money.
This is not true, however, in a No Limit game because your opponent can potentially shove all of his chips into the pot. Even if he does not go all in then he has the option of sizing his bets however he sees fit and can make it very expensive for you to stay in the pot.
When we say check/calling with weak hands we are being a little bit too vague. The question here should be how much showdown equity do you feel that your hand actually has. What showdown equity means is what are the chances that your hand will be good if you can make it to a showdown. If your showdown equity is poor then you would be much better served just to check fold and wait for another hand.
Unless you have some special information or the pot odds are absolutely crazy in your favor, you should never be calling if you can not beat much more than a bluff. Another consideration that is very important is the street that you are on. Check/calling on the river is a lot easier because that is the last bet that you will have to call. But when you check call on the flop or the turn you are going to be faced with the same decision at least once and maybe two more times in the hand.
You want to think of how much money you are going to have to put into the pot to see a show down. Then you want to think about how much money is in the pot. With these two figures you can see how many times you would have to win on a show down for the call to make any sense.
Check/Calling For Other Reasons
Now there are some other reasons why you might check call and these reasons would not be for showdown value. If you check call on the flop you could be doing it to check-raise on the turn. This could be your tactic even with a weak hand because by doing this you have represented that you have been slow playing a hand. And most players realize that when a player is slow playing a hand it is usually a monster.
Like everything else in the game of poker you have to change the way that you do things. You have to try different things and handle different situations in different ways. This is the way that you keep from becoming too predictable and this is necessary to your short and long-term success at the game of poker.
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