The term “hero call” may be defined somewhat differently in various sources, but in general, a hero call is a very rare situation in poker where a player calls a sizable bet in a marginal situation, mostly based on his read of his opponent.
Hero calls are generally quite rare in poker, especially when there are millions of dollars on the line in the biggest tournaments in the world or the highest stakes cash games. However, when someone makes a hero call and it happens to be correct, it can make for some of the most epic moments in poker.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 sickest hero calls which were captured on video.
10. Lex Veldhuis vs Doyle Brunson
Lex Veldhuis shined bright at the 2009 WSOP Main Event, where he put on a bluffing clinic, running over the whole table with his bluffs. Turned out he is pretty good at sick calls as well, which he demonstrated again Doyle Brunson on High Stakes Poker.
9. Ben Alcober vs. Van Tran
Alcober and Van Tran obviously had some history prior to this hand, otherwise it’s hard to explain the sick way both played it. They managed to push each other to the breaking point, but eventually it was Van Tran who made a sick call to come out on top.
8. Greg Merson vs Nick Schwarmann
After winning the 2012 Main Event, Greg Merson played really well in the next year’s Main Event, finishing in 167th place. Some of the great plays he made along the way to another deep run included this sick call with bottom pair.
7. Mike Sexton vs Mike Matusow
The 2006 WSOP included a Tournament of Champions, which included the 9 players who final tabled the 2005 WSOP Main Event and the winners of the 11 WSOP Circuit events of the past year. Matusow, Sexton and Negreanu were the last three players standing, which made for an interesting table to watch. Things got even more interesting when Sexton “pwned” Matusow, as Negreanu explains in this video.
6. Phil Hellmuth vs J.C. Tran
We’re all used to videos of Hellmuth making bad calls and steaming about them, but it turns out that he can actually make a great call once in a while…and there’s actually a video of it too!
5. Jason Mercier vs Eric Koskas
It takes some serious guts to make a hero call at the final table of a major event like the EPT. It’s no wonder that Jason Mercier is as great as he is when he can make calls like this.
4. Kenny Tran vs Roy Winston
If you ever plan on running deep in the WSOP Main Event, you should watch this video first just to get a sense of what it might take to make it. When you only have top pair on a paired board with four hearts, it can be hard making a call for most of your chips, but Kenny Tran seems to have it figured out.
3. Davidi Kitai vs Gordon Vayo
The top three spots on this list are occupied by one person, the sickest soul reader in poker, Davidi Kitai. This Belgian pro made some pretty sick televised hero calls over the years and a surprisingly high number of them have been correct.
On his way to taking down this year’s WSOP Event #15, Kitai made some seriously sick calls at the final table, and this one was probably the sickest one.
2. Davidi Kitai vs Andrew Chen
Before taking down the 2012 EPT Berlin, Davidi had one last opponent to beat, Andrew Chen. Andrew must have felt sick to his stomach after he saw what Kitai had in this hand.
1. Davidi Kitai vs Andrew Chen 2
Davidi must have been in full soul read mode during that tournament, since every call he made was right on the money, including calling the river re-raise with ace high.