What Do You Do When There Are Too Many Callers in Every Pot?

by Lou on May 17, 2005

Here’s a question from a reader that I received earlier today in the form of an e-mail. I think it’s something that many players struggle with, so I’m posting it here.

“What is your opinion of calling a raise cold pre-flop in late position withsay Q 10 off or QJ off? The raiser is likely to have anything and there are 5 – 7 players all calling the raise. When I raise in late position with a hand like AK, no one usually gets out. When I raise pre-flop with AK, 5 – 7 people call. If the flop does not hit me, then I am called when I bet the flop, and I am dead on the turn with nothing and usually have to fold. What is your take?”

If I have Q-T or Q-J and have to cold-call a raise in order to play, I’m going to get out and save my money for a better opportunity.

If you’re in a game where five to seven players call your raise and the flop misses your hand, it’s bound to have hit someone else. In a game like this, you won’t win unless you make a hand. If you bet the flop and attract a gaggle of callers, you should usually check the turn and fold to a bet. While you might be able to push an unimproved A-K through one or two opponents, you won’t be able to navigate your way through five of them and it’s not worth the money you’ll have to spend in order to try.

On the other hand, if the flop hits you, you’ll be delighted to have so many callers because the pots you win figure to win will be significantly bigger than those where only two or three players routinely take the flop.

When 5 – 7 players call, you can forget about bluffing as a strategy — you can’t bluff your way through that many players — and the fact that you have that many opponents usually means that any flop missing you helps another player. So bet your good hands for value in games like these, toss out the others, and forget there’s even such a thing as bluffing.

Your wallet will love you for it.

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