is the term for calling a bet after another
player or other players has/have already
called that bet. For the purposes of this
advice, we'll be concerned only with the
betting and calling that takes place on the
river, after all of the cards are out. To
overcall a bet on the river, there must
already be a bet, and you can't be the first
player to act after it. Before the action
gets to you, one or more players must act on
that bet for it to qualify as the subject of
If you already have some experience
playing hold'em in a live game, you probably
know that the first player to bet on the
river often does not have a good hand. He
could have been on a draw, missed, and now
be betting a bluff. He may have a low pair,
or even two pair, that he knows will not win
if he checks. He might, however, have the
nuts or some unexpected great hand.
Sometimes you just can't know for sure what
a bet from the first player really means.
One thing you do know for sure is that,
even though the bettor could have anything,
the first player to call him has to have
something. If you're the next player after
that first caller, you have some analytical
thinking to do. First, you have to think
about what kind of poker hand the original
bettor has. Second, you have to think about
what kind of hand the first caller thinks
the bettor has. Since he called first,
knowing that you are behind him and could
possibly raise, you usually have to give him
credit for a reasonably good hand.
You have to figure out why that player
called. Does he have a lousy hand, can beat
only a bluff, and is hoping you won't call?
Is he calling with a fairly lousy hand, just
because the pot is very big? Is he calling
with a great hand ( or even the nuts) just
so you'll also call?
It also helps if you know the players in
question. If that is the case, here are four
easy questions that you can quickly ask
1. Are both the bettor and the caller
extremely loose players? If so, then either
of them could have anything, and if you're
truly undecided, you should lean toward
2. Is the bettor a loose player and the
caller a tight player? If so, you can be
sure that the caller has a good read on the
bettor. He doesn't think he is throwing his
money away in this spot. In this situation,
you should fold if you're undecided.
3. Is the bettor a tight player and the
caller a loose player? A tight player who is
first to act is capable of bluffing in this
spot. The loose player is capable of calling
with anything in this spot. You should
generally consider calling, unless you know
for sure that the first player who bet just
doesn't bluff in this spot or has a habit of
checking his good hands.
4. Are the bettor and caller both tight
players? If so, then you'll usually need a
much better than average hand to call.
Just like playing loose is not always a
bad tactic, playing tight is not always the
best tactic. It's really a question of how
good your opponents are. There's no
substitute for knowing your opponents.
If you could know only the bettor or the
caller, not both, you'd make the better
decisions in the long run by knowing the
caller. The first caller is the key player
in this equation. If you recognize the
caller as a good, solid, experienced player
(and especially if you know that he's just a
better overall player than you), you can
take advantage of that knowledge.