Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Calling to Re-Evaluate

Just quit it. Or at least stop misapplying it.

Evaluate: to determine or set the value of;
Re: A prefix added to the start of a word. Indicates "again;"

25NL – 100BB stacks
Hero is dealt Ah Ks on the BTN

Preflop: Unknown UTG calls $0.25, 5 folds, Hero raises to $1.25, 2 folds, UTG calls $1

Flop ($2.85): Ad 9s 4d
UTG checks, Hero bets $2.25, UTG raises to $7, Hero ???
Hero doesn’t know what to do, so he “calls $4.75 to re-evaluate the turn?”

George: Should I call and re-evaluate on this table?
Jerry: What do you need to call and re-evaluate for?
George: Call and re-evaluate is now the number one line in poker.
Jerry: You know why? Because people like to say "call and re-evaluate." "Excuse me, do you want to call and re-evaluate?" "We should call and re-evaluate here." "What? No call to re-evaluate?"

Based on the definitions above, re-evaluating implies that we are going to determine the value of our hand again. This means we would have already thought about the value of our hand at some earlier point.

How do we evaluate our hand?

Step 1
- Put villain on a range.
- Compare our hand (or more accurately, our range) to villain’s range.
- Determine how to maximize value (or minimize loss) against that range.

Step 2
- Figure out how villain’s range will react to your action.
- Decide what you’re going to do based on his anticipated reaction and his range.

You already know what’s going to happen a high percentage of the time in the hand posted above:

Turn ($16.85): x
UTG shoves, Hero???

You’re exactly in the same spot with exactly the same information as you were on the flop. But you went ahead and put money in without a logical reason for doing so – your only plan, if you can call it that – was to fold to a shove because $17 is scarier than $7 and you thought folding the flop was weak. If you’ve played any amount of poker you know that’s what he’s going to do probably 80%+ of the time. That’s not calling to re-evaluate. That’s spew.

Calling to re-evaluate requires that you are going to gain new information that will help you make a better decision after villain’s next action. In the above example, you already had all the information you were going to get. c/r flop = strength/air and lead turn after c/r flop = strength/air. If you cbet and then don’t know what to do when you get raised, you have failed to think through Step 2. If you’re reading this, I assume you at least always think through Step 1.

So how do we use call and re-evaluate effectively? We use it in situations where villain’s future actions will give us information that will help us make better decisions.

25NL – 100BB stacks
Hero is dealt JJ in the BB

Preflop: UTG fish raises to $1, TAG BTN calls $1, Hero calls $0.75

Hero calls because he wants to keep UTG fish in the pot and doesn’t want to play a big pot OOP against BTN who probably has a decently strong range of broadways and PPs with some SCs.

Flop ($3.90): Qh 9s 4d
Hero checks, UTG checks, BTN bets $2.75, Hero re-evaluates turn and calls $2.75, UTG folds

Hero knows that BTN will stab here with 2nd pair, an OESD and overcards based on reads and stats. Hero also knows that BTN will not continue to stab with those hands on the turn and will only bet for value with TPTK+ and check behind everything else. Hero knows that BTN will call down for showdown with good 2nd pair type hands when weakness has been shown and our line looks bluffy.

Hero’s plan is to c/f to any turn bet (non-J of course). If villain checks behind turn, Hero will valuebet/fold the river because 9x/77-88/TT will call along with the Qx hands that beat us.

Notice how hero logically re-evaluates the turn even before he makes the flop call. We all know that betting or raising purely for “information” is a terrible reason to put money in the pot. Calling purely for “information” is far worse.

Any time that you are in a spot where you don't know what to do, "What do I do now?" is not the important question. "What did I forget to think about at a prior point in this hand?" is the important question. If you consistently plan your hands, you can avoid nearly all of these situations where you don't know what to do and put an end to the practice of using poker cliches to justify your actions.


  1. So how do you play that spot in the first scenario? Ironically, I've noticed that flaw in my game recently as well, where my one pair c-bets are getting raised and I call the flop and fold to turn heat for no solid reason.

  2. just shove, it can never be that much -EV


    Nice read buddy