What is ‘Steamrolling’?
Steamrolling is a poker term relating to the act of re-raising after a call, forcing play to pass round again and making an opponent call on top of the previous call they made. The term comes from the phrase ‘to steam’, meaning to play hard and fast on many hands, and referring to the action of playing aggressively on a particular hand.
A player who is steamrolling the others at the table is forcing additional calls by making play pass across the table another time. In poker, there can be several bets by a player in each round, depending on how all other players have chosen to act. If all players but one have chosen to call, then the last player should also call and move to the next round. However, if raises were made followed by a series of calls, a player can steamroll their way into a far higher pot by forcing a re-raise and requiring the next player to call for a second time. This can significantly boost a pot and create a charged high stakes game, and it is often seen as an aggressive play.
The technique is not always easy to apply, as it relies a little on position and a lot on the actions of other players. However, it can be very successful either in chasing opponents away from the pot or in increasing that pot for a more interesting showdown.
The phrase has links with the idea of steamrolling – a construction and engineering term which means using a steam powered roller to flatten land and remove obstacles. The phrase is linked to this concept – a player who is steamrolling at the table is flattening the stacks of the other players by forcing them to bet high on a pot, and if done successfully it could leave a very clear landscape with just a few stacks remaining in play.