Overcalling Meaning

by Jesse Knight


Overcall in Poker
Overcall - To call a bet after one or more players have already called.

The terms Check, bet, call, raise, and muck describe the various actions which are typically open to you when you play poker. These terms are very vague; they tell you the action that occurred, but not much else. For this reason, players have added descriptive words that specify an exact type of action. These descriptive words are used in conjunction with the action words, to be more descriptive about what just occurred. For example, the general term “bet” could be specified as a “continuation bet,” or a “pot-sized bet.” Similarly, you could have a “blind bet,” an “instacall,” a “dark raise,” and a “turbo muck.”

These compound terms are useful for providing a higher level of detail about the poker situation at hand. This is often necessary, because in a poker game, good players pay attention to the details. This is because the details matter. One of the main areas of advantage that good players enjoy over lesser players is their superior information processing ability. This involves compartmentalizing seemingly random bits of information, and synthesizing them into useful strategy. Describing an action with a compound term begins to do this by bringing a higher level of understanding about the nature of the action. And a higher understanding leads to better strategic thinking and more adroit game play. Because doing so is a main ingredient for success, good players tend to think in complex terms, and use compound words when discussing relatively simple poker actions.

The term “overcall,” as you probably have now guessed, refers to a certain type of call. Specifically, an overcall is a call that you make in the face of one or more players calling in front of you, before it is your turn to act. It most frequently applies to action at showdown. The fact that you are making an overcall, as opposed to another type of call is strategically significant. You need to incorporate your knowledge about overcalls when deciding on a responsive action. One thing you should consider, when facing an overcall situation, is that an overcall is often either a tough call, or a dumb call. The more people who call in front of you, the tougher (and possibly more unwise) the overcall becomes. The reason for this, on a basic level, is because when there are more players in at showdown, your weak to medium strength hands have a much lower chance of winning than if you would have been heads up at showdown.

It is important that you make overcalls based on sound poker logic and reasoning, not because you are on tilt, or are angry that your hand got snapped. When you are faced with an overcall situation, you typically have three options open to you. You may fold, call, or raise. If you are considering an overcall, it is probably because you have determined that your hand is not strong enough to raise, elimination that as a viable option. So you have a weak to medium strong hand, and you need to decide whether to muck it or to overcall.

The first thing you have to acknowledge is that the person who called the bettor likely called with something, and that something was, like your hand, probably not strong enough to raise with. Since the bettor has been called, it eliminates the possibility that he can win the pot by bluffing or betting a busted draw. The call also indicates that caller, like you, has a weak to medium strong hand. This should indicate to you that it will take at minimum a medium strength hand to have any chance of beating both the river bettor and any callers in front of you. In order to make a legitimate overcall on the river, you need to have a reasonable chance to beat every player who has bet or call in front of you. As this number goes up, the less chance your marginal, non-raising hand has, and the more you should be inclined to muck, rather than to overcall.

Overcalls are often, but not always, a bad idea. Sometimes, you can win by overcalling with a marginal hand, especially when your opponents are prone to speeding or bluffing. Some of the greatest, most profitable calls you can make are the tough overcalls that you make to win pots. When deciding on whether or not to overcall, you need to consider your pot odds. Essentially, this means that you must consider the size of the bet compared to the size of the pot, and evaluate the profitability of the overcall, based on your perceived chance of winning the pot.

Usage: Two players Overcalled, Make An Over Overcall, Call And Overcall

Previous Poker Term: Outdraw
Next Poker Term: Overcard


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