You have probably heard the words “hero call” multiple times while playing or watching poker. But what is a hero call?
A hero call is a risky call oftentimes with a marginal hand. Because such calls are difficult and particularly brave—or heroic—the moniker “hero call” was born.
Hero calls in Hold’Em and Omaha are made on the river. They occur when one player makes a large bet or raise representing the nuts and the “hero” calls the bet or raise, thus winning the pot. While some players tend to raise with the nuts, others bluff. Thus, the hero call is the result of the “hero” realizing that an opponent is, in fact, bluffing.
The call is a difficult one because the “hero” may not have that great a hand; however, if done correctly, this act of bravery results in a large potential reward. Just think of how Perseus’ slaying of Medusa and rescuing Andromeda from Cetus won him Andromeda’s hand in marriage as an example of a heroic act—in this case, two—resulting in an epic reward.
The hero call in action
Because a picture is worth a thousand words—and a video even more—let’s take a look at three incredible hero calls.
3. Lex Veldhuis versus Doyle Brunson
In this episode of High Stakes Poker, the seemingly psychic Veldhuis makes an unbelievable hero call against the legend Brunson with only a pair of deuces.
Daniel Negreanu’s comments about not bluffing Veldhuis are particularly humorous because Veldhuis made a similar hero call on Negreanu earlier in the game.
2. Upeshka De Silva versus Fedor Holz
During Day 5 of the 2015 WSOP Main Event, De Silva makes a stellar hero call against the always dangerous Holz who was doing some serious betting with a marginal hand. Then again, however, Holz is always an aggressive player. Kudos to De Silva for this call.
1. Allen Cunningham versus Jamie Gold
At the final table of the 2006 WSOP Main Event, Cunningham makes a crazy hero call—with only ace high—against overwhelming chip leader and ultimate Main Event Champion Gold. Whether Gold’s trademark chatter during the hand gave Cunningham additional information to justify his call is unknown. Take a look.
A note on the hero fold
There is also the hero fold which—as the name suggests—occurs when a player lays down a strong hand based on a read or a gut feeling that said hand is beaten. Take a look at this incredible fold from James Obst versus Michael Ruane on day 7 of the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Laying down a full house is difficult; however, it takes guts—and seeming heroic ability—to know when you are likely beaten.
Both hero calls and hero folds are difficult but are necessary skills for improving your poker game.
Tell us about your best hero call—or hero fold—below.
Until next time.
Read more from Upswing Poker:
- What is the Dead Man’s Hand?
- How to Become a Poker Pro | 3 Concepts Every Pro Needs
- Overbetting All-In On the River Explained
Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.