smooth calling

General strategy discussion.

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Smooth Calling

Postby Plece1985 » Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:04 am

OK, let's talk about the "smooth call".

A smooth call is when you're holding a REALLY GOOD
hand and someone bets into you... but instead of
RAISING, you simply CALL.

The smooth call is VERY POWERFUL, but a lot of
players totally mess it up. Here's how to do it

Let's say you're playing a cash game of no-limit
holdem at a 10-man table. The blinds are $5-10.

You're sixth to act before the flop (good
positioning) and you pick up pocket Aces...


A couple players limp-in and the action is to
Drew, who's an aggressive player.

He makes it $125 to play.

This is a rather large pre-flop raise at this
table. The normal pre-flop raise has been between
$50 and $75 up to this point.

You immediately put Drew on something like pocket
Jacks or tens.


Because you know that if someone makes an
UNUSUALLY large pre-flop raise, it's probably
because they have a hand they DON'T want to play.

And quite often that hand is 10's or J's.

So anyway, the next guy folds and now the action
is to you with your monster American Airlines.

What should you do?

This is an ideal situation for a smooth call.

Here's why:

You know Drew is going to bet again after the
flop-- regardless of what hits-- since he made
such a large pre-flop raise.

And you also know that you've got Drew beat right
now. If you call his bet, there's no way he's
going to put you on Aces.

If you RAISE, Drew is going to be scared. Because
RAISING after a big bet means you must have a
monster. And that basically gives away your hand.

OK, so you make a smooth call and put $125 in the

Everyone else mucks their cards, so it's just you
and Drew to see the flop.

The flop comes out a "rainbow" (which means there
are three different suits on the board):


This is the perfect flop for you. You figure Drew
has a pocket pair HIGHER than the cards on the
board, which means he'll be confident betting his

The only thing to be WORRIED about is if Drew has
pocket 8's, since that would mean he just made
trips. If he DID have trips, he'd probably check
after the flop and fake weakness.

So anyway, the action is to Drew and... as
expected... he comes out firing a $250 bet.

What now?

Well, you could come back over the top of him and
take this pot right now. Or you can do ANOTHER
smooth call and go for the kill.

You think for a few moments... hesitate... then
smooth call.

The turn card comes and it's a four, which is
PERFECT for you.

Drew doesn't hesitate and puts his last $500 into
the pot now... thinking he has the best hand.

You call, and throw over your monster Aces.

Drew shakes his head in disgust and throws over
his pocket Queens.

And you win a massive pot.

Now, that's basically the "ideal" way the smooth
call works. Let's discuss the RIGHT CONDITIONS
when you'll want to make a smooth call... and how
you can add this powerful move to your "poker


The smooth call is the combination of two main


The INTENTION of the smooth call is to FOOL your
opponents while letting them dig their own grave.

Here's what I mean...

The smooth call operates on the fact that you
ANTICIPATE that your opponents will continue
betting... AND... that you have the best hand at
the table.

When your opponents think THEY have the best hand,
they'll be confident with their betting. They'll
become pot-committed... and will get frustrated
that you won't back down.

That's when they'll make a mistake and go all-in,
or simply bet too much, and you'll come out on

There are four main "conditions" for performing a
smooth call... Here they are:

1. You don't need to figure out where you're at,
because you KNOW you have the best hand.

2. You ANTICIPATE future bets from your opponent.

3. You have good positioning.

4. You're not worried about too many players
getting in the hand.

The first condition basically means you should
only smooth call when you have really good hands.
We'll talk about the EXACT hands to smooth call
with more in a minute.

We've already gone over the second condition...
you need to ANTICIPATE future bets from your
opponent. Most of the time, players who raise
before the flop will bet AGAIN after the flop.

The third condition is POSITIONING. You can't
perform a smooth call if you're first to act. Then
what you're doing is just check-calling your
opponents... which ISN'T the same thing.

And the final condition for a smooth call is that
you're not at risk of having lots of players in
the hand.

This last condition is important because it will
help you prevent bad beats.

Basically, when you have a monster hand before the
flop, you want to narrow the field down to one or
two callers...

If you have three or more players seeing the flop,
your monster will get run down by someone who gets

In the example I shared earlier, Drew had made a
large pre-flop raise of $125. That meant there was
no danger of too many players calling...

If the pre-flop raise had been only $40 or so, it
would NOT have been a good situation to smooth
call... because the raise would have gotten
multiple callers. And then you're at risk of a bad

OK, so those are the conditions that need to be
present in order to make a smooth call.

Remember, the REASON a smooth call is powerful is
because it "represents" something like a draw,
low pocket pair, or hand like A-K, A-Q, or K-Q.

If you smooth call before the flop, your opponent
will probably put you on something like suited
connectors, two face cards, or a low pocket pair.

After the flop comes out and your opponent THINKS
he has you beat, he'll keep INCREASING his bet
sizes to try to scare you out. This is a
fundamental poker principle...

For each successive round of betting, the bets and
raises will INCREASE. The bets after the flop will
be larger than the bets before the flop. The bets
after the turn will be larger than the bets after
the flop. And so on.

In our example, if you came back over the top of
Drew BEFORE the flop, he would have folded. That
means you would have won his $125.

At MOST he may have called a $125 raise from
you... but then would have check-folded after the
flop. In that case, you would have won his $250.

But by smooth calling, you got BOTH his $125 bet
(pre-flop) and $250 bet (post-flop)... and then
by smooth calling again you got his remaining

The key is to trick your opponent into thinking he
has the better hand... and let HIM take the
offensive. If you can do that, you're money.


You want to smooth call before the flop with hands
like Aces or Kings. You DON'T want to smooth call
with something like A-K or A-Q.

Big Slick is a great hand... don't get me wrong...
but it's not "complete". By itself, Big Slick is
just an Ace high. If the flop doesn't help you and
your opponent comes out firing, you're in trouble.

If you're going to smooth call after the flop or
turn, you'll want to do it with hands like trips,
two pair, or an over pair (like in our example).

Trips and two pair are usually "hidden" from your
opponent, which is why they make great smooth call
hands. (Remember, it's all about making your
opponent think he's got the best of you.)

OK, TWO MORE THINGS to keep in mind...

First off, there are DANGERS to smooth calls. The
main danger is if your opponent catches a better
hand than you.

You should be ready for this if there's something
on the board like a straight draw, flush draw, or
two face cards.

Let's say you smooth call before the flop with
pocket Kings and the flop comes out 3-Q-6, all

If your opponent comes out firing aggressively, be
careful. He wouldn't come out betting UNLESS he
felt like he's still got you beat.

I mean, think about it: Those three diamonds are
going to SCARE him... unless they HELPED him.

It's the same way with flops like 10-J-Q, K-K-5,
K-Q-10, J-A-3, and so on. If there are two face
cards out there, your opponent might have just
made trips or two pair. If there's a straight draw
on the board and he's not scared, YOU should be

The second thing to think about is how you can
INTEGRATE the smooth call into the rest of your

The smooth call is a "maneuver" or "play". It will
bring you tons of extra pots and winnings when
added to the STRONG FOUNDATION of your poker
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Postby Disper » Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:13 pm

A very thorough and interesting summation.  Thanks for adding this thread.
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Postby Caece1977 » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm

You made a good point, smooth calling can induce more bets and potentially make you some more money   $$
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Postby Eappy1967 » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:55 pm

that's ONE situation that CAN work, but smooth calling can come back to bite you, as i'm sure you know
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Postby Yousand » Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:34 pm

What book is that from?
Certainly sounds like the writer knows his stuff.

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Postby Beform » Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:49 pm

It's a good read.  But I swear it looks like it was copy and pasted lol.  Also it looks alot like "fancy" play to me.
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Postby Amor1993 » Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:13 pm

i love smooth calling but it doesn't happen nearly as much as i'd like if you're playing against women it doesn't work well because they don't generally bet into anyone now being a woman myself but playing like a man it can well be to my benefit & trust me men & women do play different
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Ive seen her play

Postby Thernand » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:13 am

And rainbow doesnt play like man or woman.. Just a monster.. scares the crap out of me. (Yes thats a compliment..grin)

I love the smooth calling theory.. I do it alot my self.. I was playing some ring games tonight and the one guy was thrash talking and playing agressive.. I flopped the nuts and called it until the river.. He makes a huge raise on the river so I push all in to look like a bluff..

He starts calling me names and saying I have no idea what Im doing.. (He only had another $2.40 to call a $10.00 pot) He told me I was new to holdem and... well it wen on for 5 hands after that.

After using the same plot against him on my trip aces, he left the table.. It was so fun.
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Postby Amor1993 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:50 pm

lol@dmode i scare myself sometimes lol
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smooth calling

Postby Aree1996 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:40 pm

smooth calling is what i love to do followed by a check raise on the river, however, make sure your hand is top notch and very difficult to beat or you will slow play yourself into a hole.
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Postby Amor1993 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:47 pm

lmao i knew that was u on titan yesterday dude ur not too nice playing in womens games
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Postby Hoult1991 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:58 pm

I used to like the smooth call, but lately i have been playing with idiots who dont even have pockets when they raise, andthey end up winning on the river.

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