NLHE: Many advantages in calling raises before the flop

man vs group of people on a scale

In lower stakes NLHE cash games, you will encounter many opponents that are winning regulars in the game. Once upon a time, I used to fear these players but not anymore. The obvious logic is to think that just because a player is +EV that there are no profit opportunities in the game. This is wrong if your game is far superior to theirs and right if it isn’t. You will rarely find a winning reg that is active on only one table.

Some of the biggest winners on the site are players that play loads of tables. However (and here is the key difference) it is not automatically correct to say that the biggest winner on a particular site is the best player. I realise that this may sound counter intuitive to say, but it is true. The biggest winner on the site could be grinding a humungous number of hours and playing a humungous number of extra tables.

To do this, means that they need to have a simplified style. The faster you play, the simpler you need to play. It is a bit like comparing a game of chess between two grandmasters where the players have normal time limits of playing 40 moves inside 2 hours each. Now compare that to a time limit where each player only has 5 minutes on their clock in a blitz game.

Suddenly the emphasis is no longer on deep strategic planning but on no longer making blatant errors. The player that can avoid errors will actually do very well despite not paying chess to a very high level. This analogy is a good fit for poker because this is essentially what the multi-tabling regs are doing. They are mainly sacrificing accuracy and quality with volume.

Many players go down this road because of the fact that they often reach a plateau with regards to their skill level. So they look to play a simplified style on more tables and a large part of that style is seeing fewer flops. So they open raise and never limp, they always 3/bet and never call and if they can see fewer flops then there are fewer post flop decisions to be made.

So when we play a pot with them and we have position after they have raised then I would call any playable hand rather than 3/bet because 3/betting makes their life easier. This is because they will be involved in so many decisions at the same time that accurate hand reading will be a problem for them.

Calling raises from regs and especially when they are raising from late position is a good strategy. However, if they are raising from early position or even middle position in say full ring then you are up against a far tighter range. Many regs will really widen their ranges from late position and so there are many opportunities for profit. A simplified style is a great style when there are fish on the table but it is also a style that can be exploited.