When you play at a poker room that has a lot of calling stations and not a whole lot of maniacs, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure maximum profit. The basic definition of a calling station is a player who usually won’t take control of the hand. They’ll leave the betting up to you, and will probably just call if they hit anything on the flop. That includes making any pair or improving to a straight or flush draw. Calling stations usually also like to keep calling you down when they’re holding any pocket pair.
Keep in mind that calling stations are double-edged swords. On one hand, this type of player can be great to value bet and gain some extra profit. If you make a strong hand on the flop, you can continue betting a reasonable amount into them and they’ll keep calling you down to the river. They’ll allow you to build the pot and win more bets if they don’t draw out on your hand.
However, you also need to keep in mind that calling stations will also be calling on straight and flush draws as well. The last thing you want to do is let them hit their draw cheaply. Adjust the pot odds to your favor by betting the correct amount. If you’re heads-up against a calling station and you have a strong hand but could also be outdrawn, you should consider betting at least the size of the pot. If your opponent calls this bet on a straight or flush draw, he’s statistically making a mistake and you’re making him pay to do it. He’ll still draw out on you at times, but most of the time you’ll just be gaining extra bets. Keep in mind that most players aren’t completely clueless, so if you think that your opponents missed his draw, you should check on the river and try to induce a bluff.
One of the key aspects to playing calling stations is to seldom bluff them yourself. This is the type of player that will call you down with bottom pair. That’s great in most situations, but if you can’t beat that and you’re on a total bluff, you’re going to lose some money. Keep an eye on the players at your table and decide who to bluff and who you’ll need to showdown strong cards to. Calling stations are usually one of the best type of opponents you can have because you’re usually going to the one taking control of the hand and dictating where the action leads.
As soon as you sit down at the table, start watching the players and classify them in your mind or using the built-in notes feature on many of the online poker rooms. It’ll allow for easier decision-making when you tangle with those players for a pot. Remember, value bet the calling stations, show down good cards, and don’t bluff them.