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When Not To Fold

📁 articles 🕔11.April 2018
When Not To Fold

One of the most important things a new online poker player can learn is the importance of folding. Some would say that knowing when to fold is what separates a beginner from a true poker player, and there’s certainly some merit to that argument. However, we’d argue that it’s just as important to know when not to fold and we’ll be talking about that today!

Know why you’re tempted to fold

As we said upfront, it’s when rookies learn to be more disciplined in their play and start giving up on hands that are going nowhere that they start becoming true online poker players. However, it’s extremely common that many players who are relatively early in their poker experience will start taking that mentality to extremes. These players are called ‘tight’ players, because they almost always fold every round unless they’ve got a really strong hand.

So are you thinking about folding because you’ve read the odds and it’s the right thing to do? Or are you folding because you’re looking to minimize your losses or take it easy? If it’s the latter, you might be in trouble.

What to do with an early bet

Let’s say that one of the early players at the table bets, everyone else folds, and it comes round to you and you’ve got nothing. The obvious move would be to fold, right? Not necessarily.

First, what do you know or what have you observed about the other player? What is their playing style like? Some players will back down if you raise so early, because they figure that you must have something. Even calling isn’t a bad move, because if you greet the flop with another raise, then you’re really playing as if you’ve got a dominant hand. Sure, sometimes the original raising player will call your bluff and stick along for the ride; but they won’t always, and that’s money in the bank for you.

Don’t be scared off by a shove

Something that you’ll see quite often in lower-stakes games of online poker in India is that players will occasionally go all-in very early, sometimes even before the flop. What do you do?

Once again, reading your opponents is vital in this situation. How has the all-in player been playing so far? How is his stack compared to everybody else’s? Might this just be a show of strength to intimidate everybody else? Has anybody else called, or raised?

It’s easy to throw your cards down in such circumstances, especially if you have a low pair, but paying attention to the behaviour of your opponents can help you steal the pot.

Folding on the river

You’ve had a drawing hand all the way through, but the river’s come out and you haven’t made it. Whether you were going for a straight or a flush, it doesn’t matter anymore – you don’t even have a pair. So you’ve got nothing, and your opponent raises. It comes to you, and so what are you going to do?

If you’ve been paying attention this far, you’ll know that the answer is ‘Don’t fold…yet!’. Yes, this situation isn’t great for you but pause for a second and think about what your opponent knows. They can see that there’s an opportunity for a flush or straight, based on the cards on the table. You didn’t make that hand, but they don’t know that. If you raise your opponent’s bet in this situation – especially if you’ve been playing it tight thus far – there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll think you’ve made your hand and fold themselves.

 

There are definitely situations where a fold is the obvious as well as the right call, but hopefully we’ve given you enough reasons to think about it a little more before you throw your cards down next time!

 

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