If you think that poker is about going all in and winning big pots with royal flush, you might want to change idea right now. Yes, it’s part of the charm of the game and showing your opponents big scores is always a pleasure, but most of the money you are going to dig out from poker are actually coming from your harder folds.
Laydowns are never easy and hardly a topic to brag about, but if you don’t understand when fold’em rather than just hold’em and let the cards play by themselves, you are going to have tough time in your poker adventure.
When you cannot fold…
Let’s start from the basics and the easiest spots. It’s pretty clear when you are not supposed to fold your monster hands, such as strong overpairs, sets or straight: every time the pot to stack ratio has got yourself commited to the hand, you just can’t let it go.
If you are holding Ac-As on a terrible flop like Kd-Qd-Td, the pot has already 40 big blinds in and your opponent goes all in for 25bb, it’s likely you are not starting the showdown with the best odds, but you cannot call yourself out from the hand. There’s still a chance he’s holding AK, but in many other cases either he has a strong draw or a two-pairs or set. It’s a cooler and you cannot do anything about it.
On the same range, if you are holding 2s-2c on a flop like 7d-8d-9d, it should not cross your mind to fold if the remaining stacks are smaller than the pot itself.
When you should fold
As in the last example, 2s-2c on a flop 7d-8d-9d, you bet, your opponent raises and you perform a 3bet; the remaining effective stacks are yet 100bb deep. Can you fold the underset on a board so connected like this?
Hell yes. You likely have the worst hand or at best are around 50% odds to win the pot. Even if you opponent has AdAx, you are not in a good shape. If you are a good player, both with a cool mind in these spots and with a strong confidence in your abilities, you do not want to gamble a deep stack in a coinflip (in the best scenario!) just because you did hit a set and now you feel lucky enough to take a roll of dices.
Gut feeling, strong knowledge of your opponents’ tendencies and cool mind are the key ingredients to make great folds and save a lot of money.
If you go all in preflop with KK and you end up losing, it doesn’t matter because that’s the essence of the game. If you are in a situation where, based on your experience, you feel you might fold a big hand, then just go for it.It will give you a cool hand to tell your friends about and for their feedbacks!