Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2009.
This is part of a series by Diane McHaffie. She wasn’t a poker player when she began writing this series. These entries chronicle the lessons given to her personally by Mike Caro. Included in her remarkable poker-learning odyssey are additional comments, tips, and observations from Mike Caro.
Diane McHaffie is Director of Operations at Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy. She has traveled the world coordinating events and seminars in the interest of honest poker. You can write her online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons from MCU
— With bonus content by Mike Caro (pending) —
Lesson 163: Profiting from extra calls
Today we’re going to discuss how to successfully earn extra calls to enlarge your bankroll. As a master at the use of psychology on his opponents, Mike succeeds in achieving those extra calls time and again. You, too, can become accomplished with a little knowledge and practice.
When attempting to manipulate a call from an opponent you should be comfortable, smooth and confident. It shouldn’t seem like a con game. In fact, you need to make the endeavor seem like you don’t want the call. This plants a seed of doubt into your opponent’s mind. He thinks that perhaps you don’t have the cards necessary to steal the pot from him? Maybe, his cards are better? Then he shoves his chips into the pile, giving you the call you had secretly orchestrated.
How do you make them think that you’re cards are questionable and receive the call? Well, you could appear hesitant, shaky, and eager for him to fold. This sometimes promotes indecision and suspicion. But sometimes more subtlety is required.
If you’re in the midst of an effort to lure a call from your opponent and he begins to fold, it’s necessary for you to act immediately before your opportunity slides away. Begin straightening your chip pile and accidentally knock it over. This distracts your opponent. He may reconsider his folding action.
Perhaps he pauses, undecided and then leans forward, his cards ready to toss away. Here’s where you need to talk him out of folding, quickly! “Sure, I could have one of those trash hands, like I had a little while ago. But, maybe I have a truly impressive hand!” Your opponent pauses again, confused. Keep talking! As long as you’re talking and he’s hesitating, you’re delaying his decision. He didn’t come to the game today to fold, but to make calls and be involved. He wants to call. Continue to talk, get inside his head.
Now, he decides to call. He’s feeling smug because he thinks that he’s outfoxed you. He’s confident that he holds the better hand and he’s prepared to swoop down upon you and claim the pot. Ah, but the scene doesn’t play out quite that way. Instead, your superior cards conquer his near-nothing hand and you sweep in the chips. It’s necessary now to make a friendly comment – perhaps about how his same hand would have won last time you made that bet, so you were lucky in your timing. That keeps him from feeling he’s been conned, and his mistake is more likely to be repeated.
It’s important that you are at the proper table for attempting these call-inducing maneuvers. If the players aren’t carefree and lively, enjoying a friendly game of poker, then don’t attempt these plays. The last thing that you want to do is upset the camaraderie of the game and incur ill feeling and resentment. It’s crucial that you project a friendly image.
You don’t wish to impede the game with your antics. Nor do you want to irritate anyone. So, a table with loose, fun players and a laid back attitude is a must for your lively behavior to succeed profitably. You need to be quick, slick, and friendly.
A chosen image needs to come easily to you, to be an extension of yourself, in order to achieve those extra calls. You’re an actor, playing a part. If your image is one that is difficult to attain and doesn’t come naturally to you, then it’s going to be tough to be convincing. You may not be successful in acquiring those additional calls. So, don a persona that blends into your real personality and is believable.
Just remember, players will call almost anything given the slightest excuse. So, you can achieve an extra call in additional ways: whistle, hum, glance pointedly at your watch, take off your hat, or shuffle in your chair.
The calling reflex is easily manipulated! For extra calls, tease it into action. Work your magic! You may not always succeed in your attempts but it’s worth the effort. And if you are triumphant, then it’s easy, clear profit. — DM