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Flat Call Definition

Calling a Raise - Calling a Bet

by Jesse Knight
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Flat Call in Poker
Flat Call – To only call, with emphasis on the fact that you did not raise, even though it was an option.


When a poker player acts, they must choose from a series of actions available to them, including checking, betting, calling, raising, and mucking. While these terms describe the nature of the action to take place, they are often not descriptive enough, and some more detail needs to be added about the action in order to clarify things. Therefore, players often add descriptive terms to their actions in order to give a clearer picture of what just occurred. For example, if a player “turbo-mucks,” or “insta-mucks” their hand, it indicates not only that a player has thrown their hand away, but that they have done so very rapidly. This often means that little or no thought was necessary. The fact that a player can muck their hand very quickly without really thinking about it provides us with some relevant insight into the content of their hand. In this case, a turbo muck often indicates that a player has missed an all or nothing draw, like a straight draw or a flush draw. Just the opposite occurs when a player makes a “tough lay down.”

When a player makes a tough laydown, they muck their hand, just as the player who turbo-mucked did. But the fact that it was a tough laydown indicates something significant about the action, that it required some serious thought. The implication here is that the player had much more than a busted draw or a weak hand. So, by more accurately describing the action that just took place, we can give a clearer picture of what actually transpired.

A flat call is a specific type of call. It is a call that is made on the flop or the turn even though raising was a option. The emphasis is on the fact that the player only called and did not raise. This is significant, because it usually indicates one of two things. Either the caller is not strong enough to raise, or they are slowplaying a big hand with the intent of raising later. This is slightly different from a “cold call,” which is a call that is made very rapidly, without any thought, even though raising may have been an option. A cold call usually indicates a hand that is not strong enough to raise. Sometimes a player will cold call a bettor with a weak hand because they do not give them credit. At other times, a player will cold call a medium strong hand in the face of intense action, or because they have a strong suspicion that their hand may be no good.

Sometimes when a player flat calls on the flop, they are making a play called “floating.” When you “float” you make a position call with nothing, with intent to bluff or bluff raise later in the hand. This is a risky play, because it requires a significant investment, and will only work when your opponent is not strong enough to call you down. Still, it can be very effective in the right situations, and it is a play that is often used by advanced players. Floating works best against players who tend to overbet weak to medium strong hands, players who often bet out of position, or players who are easily moved off their hands.

So you can see that you can draw some significant conclusions about a poker situation, not only based on the things that your opponent do, but how they do them. And the more information and clarity that you have about a given poker situation, the better equipped you will be to make the right decisions. The better you are able to absorb, process and act on information, especially small details, the better you will play and the more success you will have.

Usage: Flat Called On The Flop, Call Flat

Previous Poker Term: Fish
Next Poker Term: Floorman

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