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Illustration IӬl give you an example from a recent tournament I played. I had just been seated in a weekly $1000 online no limit hold ҥm tournament and was checking my notes on the other players at my table. Most of them, including the player to my immediate left, were fairly strong, well-known tournament players. The notable exception was the player two seats to my right, on whom I had a note that read, Ԓidiculous calling station.ԍ
As it happened, the calling station was given the button for the first hand, which meant that I was in the big blind and the strong player to my left was first to act. With blinds at 10/20, he came in for a pot-sized raise of 70 and got four callers, including the loose player on the button. The action was on me in the big blind with AJ. Ordinarily, I would fold AJ against a first position raise, even coming from a player such as this one who is well-known to be loose and aggressive. Although my hand was too weak to call, I decided that there was a very wide gap between the hands this player would raise in this spot and the hands with which he would continue against a sizeable re-raise. I further suspected that most of the other players at the table would have re-raised when they had the chance if they had a big pair, so it looked like a good spot for a squeeze play.
The only player who I thought might call me would be the loose player on the button, but with AJ, I didnӴ figure to be in bad shape against his calling range, especially with so much dead money in the pot. So I re-raised to 420, and sure enough everyone folded except the button, who called. That is, after all, what calling stations do best. A call from any other player at this table would have frozen me, and I would not have put another penny into the pot without a very favorable flop. My big re-raise against a first position raiser was representing a premium holding, and even though most of these players were savvy enough to realize there was some chance I was making a squeeze play, they would also recognize that I would have a strong hand often enough that they could not call me profitably without a very strong holding of their own.
But the Բidiculous calling stationԠwas a different story. With so many players in the pot already, his first call could be almost anything. When it came to my re-raise, although he was loose, I didnӴ think he was calling with just anything. More likely, he had a ҰrettyҠhand like 88 or AQ that he just couldnӴ bring himself to fold despite the strength I was representing. The flop came out K95, all different suits. No help for my AJ, but a good flop to fire at against a player whom I expected to be relatively weak. Because I knew this player could show up with so many hands that were really too weak for the situation, I expected a flop bet to be profitable. I bet 600, and the stubborn SOB called me again! The turn brought a Q, giving me a gut shot, which was not very much help. But I still couldnӴ shake the feeling that this guyӳ hand was not as strong as it should have been to take this much action. Smart, reasonably tight players are not calling a big reraise pre-flop and a big bet on that flop without a monster holding. But this guy was not a smart, reasonably tight player. I knew, from past experience, that he would give more action than his hands were worth.
Obviously, this does not sound like the ideal player to bluff. But on the other hand, I was now looking at a big pot and an opponent who likely did not have a big hand, and that does sound like the ideal situation to bluff. Calling stations need more convincing than other players to fold, but with enough convincing, they can be bluffed in situations where others cannot. For instance, I would not even think of moving all in on this turn against any other player at the table, because any other player could not have gotten to this point without a hand that would happily call my all in. But in this situation, I moved all in for my (and my opponentӳ) last 2000, and he folded.