What is a Hero Call? When to Use It – and When Not to Use It

When you have an iffy hand but make a risky call nonetheless, that is what is known as a “hero call.” In Omaha and Hold ‘Em Poker, this call comes on the river. One player puts down a significant bet or raise that represents the nuts, and then the “hero” calls this bet or raise and ends up winning the pot. Some players will raise along with the nuts, while others will bluff. When the “hero” realizes that an opponent is trying to pull off a bluff, the “hero” call is a poker strategy of taking that bluff down.

The risk factor comes, of course, because the “hero” may have a hand that is marginal. When this happens at the right time, though, the boldness of the hero could bring in a big haul of chips. However, the risk could lead to a big loss. Here are some tips to help you understand when this is the right idea for your strategy.

Check out the bet size

If you only play poker for free then you probably haven’t noticed this, but one of the most commonly discussed topics among poker players has to do with pot odds. Every time you face an opportunity to bet, the odds to call should be one of your initial considerations.

If the bet is smaller, you can use a wider part of your range than what is available to you when your opponent puts down a big bet. If your opponent uses small wagers on the flop and the turn, you only need to win about 20 percent of the time for the Hero. If your opponent puts down a huge bet on the river, your hero call is much more at risk because of the expanded odds – you would need to win over 36 percent of the time to build a profit.

Blockers versus hand strength

If your hand does not beat any hand inside the value range of your opponent, then it does not really matter how strong your overall hand is. Instead, what matters are what your hand brings to card removal. A hand that can catch a bluff limits the range within your opponent can bet while also unblocking his bluff chances.

Consider backup equity on the flop and the turn

There are times when you find yourself in the top of your opponent’s range, even when your hand is ideal for bluff-catching. Getting backup equity is a big help in situations like this. Backup equity refers to the opportunity to improve your hand to the best available outcome if you find yourself behind. These options exist on the flop. You can take additional steps (and the cards that come down and push things as well) so that a big river bet either leads to considerable strength – or leads to failure.

Understanding the hero call is an important part of learning the game of poker. As you increase in your sophistication with the game, then you will understand when such big risks make sense – and when they are less likely to pay off for you. It is always a risk, but mitigating risk helps you move toward making profits.

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