how to beat the loose passive player

If you play Texas Hold'em, you have surely heard of the calling station. The calling station is otherwise known as the loose passive player. This is the easiest of all players to beat, and especially if you are playing No Limit Hold'em you can make yourself wealthy at this player's expense. Understanding how to beat the calling station is both easy and important.


A loose passive player, unlike a tight passive player, plays nearly every hand he has. He thinks there's something wrong with folding pre-flop and hates the fold strategy in general, and will see the flop at least 80% of the time. Indeed, he'll likely go to the river 80% of the time. This player thinks that the only way to be successful at poker is to be in every hand to the end except under the most extreme bad card circumstances (or extreme examples of other players' "better luck"). The loose passive player never grasps the fact that those who are constantly beating him and taking his money have folded much more often than they have held, even though he sees this happening right before his very eyes.

Now, calling stations think that they are being smart and strategic because the other trait that makes them stand out is their timidity about raising. They nearly always check or call, and hence their poker lingo name. They have a distorted, bass-ackwards concept of what it means to be "tight-aggressive". They think that aggressive means rarely folding, and they think that tight means always checking and calling while rarely raising unless they have something like four-of-a-kind Aces.

The calling station also overestimates the value of the good hands he gets. He's ready to go all the way to the showdown on a pair of 4's. He's got little idea of what the 10 best starting poker hands are and probably knows nothing about any poker odds calculations.

Here's another trick to draw out the calling station: between hands, while the cards are being shuffled and such, say something to him that involves the use of Texas Holdem terms. If he doesn't respond with poker lingo in kind, you can be confident that you've got the loose passive player at the table...just waiting to give you his money.


Assuming other circumstances are conducive to this, once you recognize the loose passive player is at your table you should modify your strategy to accommodate his desire to give you all of his money.

  • Especially if you are an aggressive player, forget about the continuation bet that you have been using as part of your core strategy. These guys don't fold to bets. Instead, just check him and take the free card. The reason the continuation bet is not a good idea against these players is because the one thing they have going for them is that they are very difficult to put on a hand. They will call with tripped-up Aces and they will call with garbage. But, the odds are always against them having the winning hand, and the more cards you have to draw on the worse their odds get. So don't throw away your bankroll to these crazy people when they just get lucky.
  • Forget about using the check raise these guys. Once again, it just doesn't work on them, because if you check they'll just check back and now you give them the free card. In other words, you have to be counter-intuitive with these players, because they don't have any poker intuition. They are a shining example of "ignorance is bliss"...and they are also a shining example of how costly ignorance is.
  • Play your usual tight game. When you hold your cards, just draw this guy in with large bets that he calls. Just let him call, and take him to the river. Watch as his chips migrate over many hands from his chip stack to yours.
  • Since the calling station plays nearly every hand he has, once in a great while he'll get dumb lucky and nail you with a bad beat. Don't start playing on tilt because of this. Remember, he will only do this once in a great while, and meantime you just beat him down until he's broke and his money belongs to you.

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