How to Deal with Calling Stations in Poker

Poker Academy
13 Apr 2024
Holdem Strategy
13 Apr 2024

Playing live at casinos or low-stakes cash tables, you may often encounter players who tend to call with unlikely or totally weird hands.

This playing style is typical among inexperienced or novice players and is a phase that many go through.

Let's explore strategies to counter these players, commonly referred to as 'calling stations' (because of their tendency to call too frequently), and further enhance our poker skills!

What is a Calling Station?

Calling station refers to a player who frequently calls despite having weak hands.

They often make calls with hands that should be folded, hoping to catch their opponent bluffing or to chase unlikely draws.

They tend to play passively, frequently opting to call rather than raise or bet aggressively.

The calling station playing style is common not only among beginners but also among fish, making them the primary targets for our EV.

How to deal with Calling Stations?

Countermeasures against calling stations are relatively straightforward. However, some players may find it frustrating to play against that kind of opponents because their wide calling ranges make our bluffing ineffective.

Nevertheless, if you learn how to deal with calling stations, you can turn them into highly profitable opponents.

So, let's learn effective exploiting strategies to handle calling stations and improve our chances of winning them!

Avoid bluffing

Bluffing against calling stations is often ineffective because they tend to call our bets frequently. Even if you try to bluff, they are likely to call, resulting in unnecessary losses.

It's advisable to avoid bluffing against a calling station and preserve your chips instead.

Go for a large value

Usually, when you have a strong hand, it's crucial for your long-run winrate to bet aggressively.

Since calling stations tend to call with marginal hands, there's no need for slow playing. Instead, maximize your value by betting aggressively when you have a strong hand

Moreover, consider making huge overbets to extract maximum value from calling stations.

Go for a thin value

When unsure if a hand is strong enough to make a value bet, especially against a calling station, it's advisable to bet.

The main concern with thin value betting is that you might get folds from hands weaker than yours or get bluff-raised, resulting in losing the pot.

However, thin value betting can be effective when your opponent doesn't bluff raise at all and calls with hands he shouldn't.

Grabbing these thin value opportunities is crucial to maximizing your long-term EV from these kind of players!


Calling stations are a common playstyle that beginners often adopt, making them easy to exploit. By observing your opponent's play and identifying them as a calling station, it's important to adjust your strategy. This means refraining from bluffing and instead focusing on maximizing value.

By adjusting your strategy in this way, you'll be able to extract more EV from calling stations than other regulars do!

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