Cold Calling in Poker

One concept that beginning poker players may not be totally familiar with is cold calling. Basically, cold calling involves making a call when at least two actions have been made (one involving a raise) before your turn to act. For example, if one opponent bets, another opponent raises, and you call, this would be considered cold calling. Seeing as how two players ahead of you have shown some hand strength, this isn’t exactly the ideal time to be bluffing or trying to draw with a marginal hand.

For example, let’s say that you’re sitting in middle position with KQ(o), and an early position player bets, then the player to your right raises; assuming at least one of the players isn’t a total maniac, you’re facing a dilemma here. Sure K-Q is a solid drawing hand since it has top pair and high-straight potential, but is it really +EV to call in this situation.

Some might consider this to be a good enough starting hand to cold call a raise with, but the majority of skilled poker players will pass on this one – even with position. After all, you’ve got somebody who raised from early-middle position, knowing that they have the potential to be called or re-raised later on.

Assuming you make the call anyways, you’ll often be put into a difficult post-flop position. For example, let’s say that the flop was A-Q-7 rainbow, which isn’t bad for you because you paired the queen. However, you also have to contend with the possibility that your opponent had AK or AQ, and they now have top pair. Of course, they could have pocket jacks as well, and this will take knowing your opponent’s range in order to decide if it’s worth calling any future bets they make.

But long story short, you need a very good hand to make a cold call in online poker because the opponents ahead of you have shown a considerable amount of strength.