Poker Guide: When should you fold?


Folding is arguably the most difficult skill for amateur poker player to pick up. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely pivotal that you get it right. Learn to fold and you’ll stay in the action longer, won’t blow your bankroll away and improve your chances of winning.

You can learn when to fold below.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to let go…

It’s difficult, we know. You’ve invested $5000 of chips into a single hand and you’ve not landed anything from the flop. What looked like a really decent hand has quickly turned sour and to top it all off your opponent is rather keen to chuck their chips in. And so, you’ve got a decision to make — leave, or remain (No, not Brexit… enough about that).

Trust your instincts

If something doesn’t seem right — it probably isn’t. Now, we’re not saying you should start listening to that voice in the back of your head. But, did you just pick up a facial tick? Have they thrown their chips in like this before? Are they staring in the same direction to try and avoid eye contact? If so, and your instincts are telling you to ditch — ditch.

First of all, listen to the voice. Secondly, act on it, but only after analysing the situation first.

Look for danger and you’ll probably find it!

Have you just been check-raised? Ha, get out. Unless you’ve something that’s going to beat pocket pairs, KA suited or —  at a push — KQ/KJ, there’s probably little chance of you winning.

Look at the chips on the table. Has your opponent just smacked a load of money down after a flush draw? If so, unless you’ve got a full house, run.

Now, if they’re playing with the knowledge that you’re a tight player, there’s a good chance they have something good themselves. If that’s the case, weigh up the kind of hands they’ve been playing before and if you’re confident — go for it. Otherwise, it’s probably best to fold.

Rent out Carl Vorderman for the weekend

Now it’s time to do some maths — wahey!

First job is to work out how much you have in chips. If you’re playing online poker this’ll already be done for you, but if not just have a stab and work out an estimate. Now, how’d you look compared to the rest of the field? If you’re a little short then you need to reserve your funds for a cracking hand.

Now take a look at your opponents and work out how they’re betting. How much can they afford to raise? Are they betting more on good hands, or remaining consistent throughout? This’ll allow you to work out what they have from how they bet.

Finally, where are you positioned on the table? Bin off anything poor in the blinds — it’s too tempting to say in once you’ve landed a low-value pair. You end up making the majority of your mistakes calling with marginally good hands, so bear that in mind.

Finally, just fold!

We know, it’s hard to bin a hand off, but once you’ve done it a few times it won’t feel so bad. You might be losing a tenth of your bankroll now, but you could end up losing it all if you carry on.

So, there you go — everything you need to know about folding. Get out there, head to the tables and make your no philosophy work — again, if you’re unfamiliar with great starting hands, check out our guide here.

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