Should You Cold Call in Cash Games?

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A variety of poker chips falling onto a poker table.
BetMGM Nov 21, 2023, 10:40 AM

If you’re looking to make your online poker experience more exciting, then opting to play cash games is the perfect answer and online poker is the perfect setting to make this happen. A cash game is the process of buying into a game. This is done by converting money into chips that are valued differently, such as $5, $10 and $20.

Unlike an online poker tournament, cash games allow players to buy in multiple times – this usually occurs when a player loses their chips. However, there are often minimum and maximum buy-in amounts, so be sure to keep a note of that as it varies among casinos and cash games. Today we discuss whether you should cold call in cash games.

What is Cold Calling?

From Texas Hold’em to 7-card stud, cold calling occurs in every variation of poker. A cold call is when an individual calls a raise of the original bet. For instance, if player A stakes $50, player B raises it to $70 and then player C calls $70. Player C is the cold call.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Calling

The effectiveness of cold calling is often discussed among poker’s elite. For beginners, it’s important to remember that we are specifically talking about cash game scenarios. This is crucial to understand as cold calling is a favorable strategy used in online poker tournaments. Why? Because the use of antes considerably improves the caller’s pot odds.

Cash games are played around one table with (usually) a maximum of 10 to 12 players, whereas an online poker tournament can consist of up to a hundred players. So, what are the pros and cons of cold calling in cash games?

Advantages

One of the main motivators for utilizing a cold call is the degree of pot control you receive through making flops a little cheaper to see (rather than re-raising.) Moreover, it’s a great way to entice weak players to call when they have subpar hands. This subtle deception can be a difference-maker between a medium-to-strong pot size. Excluding when you’re small blind, a cold call pushes you into a strong post-flop position when nobody else calls.

Maintaining a level of spontaneity between rounds is crucial for success. As you become less predictable, opponents become warier of your bets, often resulting in them avoiding head-to-head situations. Cold calling allows you to add another strategy to your arsenal, therefore making your hands trickier to predict.

Disadvantages

As good as it sounds, there are risks associated with cold calling in cash games. Firstly, these rounds often occur with multiple players still in the round, meaning your chances of success decrease. The process of calling a hand attracts players to follow suit. In addition, if you’re calling a player’s raise, it suggests that they, too, are holding strong cards – although this is not always the case.  

Another scope of exposure that can occur is that you risk a player making an aggressive play and stealing the pot or putting you in a trickier situation (than before.) Lastly, cold calling means you will not win the pot in that round, which extends the possibilities of strong hand combinations for opponents.

When Can You Get Away with Cold Calling?

Contrary to the cons listed above, there are some instances in online poker when cold calling is definitely the correct strategy. In Texas Hold’em, your poker hands often dictate your next move, whereas the level of competition is a great influence on cold calling. If you’re wondering how to play Texas Hold’em or want to take your skills to the next level, then be sure to watch the World Series of Poker and gauge how professional players approach various hands, bluffs and aggressive calls. Sometimes watching can be the best source of learning.

A cold call can be highly effective when you have one or more weak players behind you. Not only does this help build the pot, but it also provides you with more control over the round. Understanding your opposition’s skill level, poker personality and positioning, can be your best piece of information during a game. Doing this can make you a far more exploitative player. Another signal for knowing when to cold call is when the players behind are not aggressive 3-bettors.

Poker Games on BetMGM

BetMGM has a wonderful array of poker games, making it the perfect one-stop shop for all things online poker. Texas Hold’em remains our most popular variation. With it being easy to learn, it’s the perfect place to start your poker journey. Another favored game is Omaha. Packed with action and played mostly by intermediates and above, in this variation, players are dealt four cards. Utilizing three of the community cards, players can use two of their four cards to make a hand – the best five-card combination. With so many cards in the hands of players, it opens up the game to many hand combinations, making it exciting yet aggressive, as many players tend to have strong hands throughout.

Also, there is 7-card stud. If you’re looking for a fresh and thrilling variation, this is the perfect answer. The round begins with two downcards and one upcard. After this betting round, three upcards and one down card are placed on the board. A betting round occurs after each card. Following this, there is one last downcard for a final round of betting. The winner is decided based on who has the best five-card poker hand. 

Play Cash Games on BetMGM

Want to learn how to play poker online or the pros and cons of small and micro-stakes poker? Register today and get in on the action. With an array of cash games happening 24/7, BetMGM is regarded as one of the best online poker sites.

Outside of poker, we have endless online casino games to choose from, such as live dealer casino games, online slots, roulette and so much more.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.