What is a ‘Hero Call’?
The term ‘hero call’ is a poker phrase which is used to describe a particularly bold play, in which the player calls on a suspected bluff even though they have a weak hand and the stakes are running high. The phrase is usually used to describe this play when it is successful and takes the pot, but it can be used to describe this move no matter what the outcome of the pot is.
‘Hero Call’ Explained
If a poker player makes a ‘hero call’, they call on a player at the final showdown who they strongly suspect is bluffing their hand. It is often made in stud and community games such as Hold’Em, where the cards suggest that a straight or flush could be drawn or held at the table. The player making a hero call may have a relatively weak grasp on the cards dealt and perhaps only have a pair or similar low hand, but they have an inkling that another player is bluffing on having made the flush or straight available.
If the bluffing player decides to try their luck and raise or go all-in on the final round, it would take a very brave player to call them out and stand for the showdown. This is where the ‘hero call’ appears. The player with the weak pair must hope that their hand outranks that of the player who went for the five-card set and didn’t make it, otherwise they will lose a lot of funds to the pot. It is a brave and risky move, and one which only a gambling player would make, so it is seen as ‘heroic’. Usually the phrase is used when the play succeeds and the bluff is played down, but it might also be used to mean any brave call made in this manner.