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Playing Against the Loose Passive Player

Fortune Jack Poker

These are the easiest and most profitable players to play against in No-Limit Texas Hold'em. As they usually check or call, and seldom raise or fold, they earned themselves the nickname 'calling stations'.

Beginners usually play this way due to their lack of experience. They call rather than bet because they probably don't have an idea how much to bet. They tend to overvalue their hand, hopeful that their pair of Sevens is good enough to win in a showdown. They think that the only way to win a pot is to produce the better hand in a showdown. When the opponent  has the better hand, they think it's just due to luck, failing to recognise that their opponents had previously folded crap hands like the ones they are holding. 

Recognising the Loose Passive Player

Spotting the loose-passive Hold'em player is quite easy. He is the one who plays any two cards and is in almost every pot.  He often checks and calls, and almost never raise or fold. New players tend to fall into this category. If this player don't talk poker lingo at the table, then he's probably new to the game and very likely to be a calling station.

General Tips for Playing Against the Calling Station

Once you have identified an opponent as a calling station, you will need to make some modifications to your strategies and tactics accordingly.

Don't Make the Continuation Bet

The calling station seldom fold to any bet. Hence, you probably shouldn't place a continuation bet if you are playing against a loose passive player. Instead, you should check to him and try to get a free card. 

Don't Check-Raise

Check-raising is reserved for aggressive opponents. The calling station is too passive to try a check-raise stunt  on and very often, he will just check back and you end up giving him a free card. Instead of check-raising, you should just make a bigger bet.

Don't Bluff a Calling Station

Bluffing a loose/passive poker player seldom work because very often he doesn't know what you are trying to represent. As long as he has outs, he will call your bet so save your money and your bluffs for the more experienced folks.

Respect Their Raises

Loose/passive poker players seldom raise the pot unless they have got a big hand. So unless you are certain you have them beat, respect their raises and fold.

Don't Try to Read Their Hands

As the loose but passive player plays with any two cards, it's almost impossible to know what he is holding. Most of the time, he should be holding something weak like a bottom pair or is still drawing. If you suspect they have a big hand, you can check to them and see if they bet. If they do bet, then it's very likely they have hit something big.

Making a Move on the Loose Passive Calling Station

"Invincibility depends on one's self; The enemy's vulnerability on him."
- Sun Tzu

Statistically, with any two non-paired hole cards, a player hits the flop only about 1/3 of the time. Thus, by playing any two cards, the loose passive hold'em player put himself at risk most of the time. This vulnerability is heightened by the fact that he plays any two cards so even if he hit the flop, its usually the second or bottom pair.

However, don't relax your tight starting hand selection just because a calling station is playing at the table and you are eager to take him on. Play tight preflop as usual and hit the flop with strong starting hands. Don't commit the same mistake as the calling station or you become another fish like him.

With a tight starting hand selection, once you hit any of your two hole cards on the flop, it's very likely that you will have him beat. You don't need a fantastic hand to beat the loose passive player. Knowing that on average, a player hits the flop roughly 1/3 of the time, all you need is to hit top or second pair on the flop to take the pot.

In any case, loose players like to chase straight or flush draws and if they do hit, it doesn't really matter if you had flopped a set or two pairs. If there are other players in the hand, try to isolate to play heads up against the calling station by reraising aggressively.

As long as you don't get raised by the calling station, you should bet out. Unlike the loose aggressive maniac, you should respect the calling station's raise. For instance, if you still holding a top pair on the turn but got reraised by a calling station, it's time to fold and save some money. The loose passive calling station usually don't raise unless he's got a monster hand.

The Importance of Your Bankroll

Due to the fact that you will either win or lose big pots with the calling station, you need to be aware of the impact on your bankroll should you get rivered by these guys. In any case, it's a must to prepare a sizable bankroll when playing No-Limit Texas Hold'em as the swings can get very high.

Playing the Player

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