Poker is a game where you can win even with the worst of cards. However, the one with the best hand must not know what cards you have. Or, better still, he must have a reasonable doubt on the hand that he is holding. And if he does, you can bluff your way into winning the pot. But that’s all common knowledge. Someone who has player a few hands of poker would immediately tell you that.
What he might not be able to tell you is: when to fold.
When do I fold?
You would now be aware that there are a total of four rounds of better. That is, four rounds making the other person believe that you have the best cards on the table. If there is a pair on the table, then your opponents must be tricked into believing you have at least a full house, if not a four of a kind.
You may either raise 4x pot, to make the one with believe you have a lock (the best hand), or 3x pot, for him to believe you’re playing to win more with the hand you have. However, now you have raised 3x and the opponent raises 7x. You have two options. Go all-in or fold. Going all-in with nothing is stupid, unless they really believe you are locked with your hand. But folding is easy. Your hole cards will go unseen, and your strategy will be well hidden.
‘But when do I fold?’ Well, if this question is bugging you since forever, you’re in luck. We, at 9stacks, are in the mood of giving some tips today. We give free tips only to those who deserve them. So, go play on 9stacks, to show that you’re worth the tips.
So, as you know, there are four rounds of bluffing. So, there are four rounds where you can fold depending on how your cards fair against others’. Let’s analyse each step.
You have a 2-7, 2-8, 2-9 or 3-8, 3-9 off suited? Fold!
More often than not, the above hole cards give you nada. However, 2-7s have also known to show up as a full house. You can’t say much about the hole cards, and what shows up on the board. But generally, the win percentage of the above cards is extremely low. Read how bad these cards are [link to worst hole cards].
Further, if you don’t have these cards, but you have such hole cards that do not justify raising 4x blinds on pre-flop, fold. There would be instances where the other players start betting in pre-flop to the extent of 3x-4x the amount of blinds. But you know that you don’t have such hole cards to justify calling that amount, or raising. So, the best way to go ahead is to fold.
Remember, there are another three rounds of betting. However, a lot of pro poker players never fold pre-flop. The main reason is to see the flop. The flop shows you five of the seven cards. There’s a lot of probability of you hitting a good hand, or trumping other players’ hands. For example, if a couple of ducks open on the board, and you have a 2-7 off suited. You can root for a full house draw. So, try avoiding a muck unless there is a hefty bet on the pre-flop.
Now the flop is turned. You have five cards open for you (including three community cards). You have a better understanding of where you stand in the game. You may have a royal flush, or you may have a 5 high card. But you need not fold, even if you have nothing in your hand. You know how to bluff by now (we’re assuming). If not, then do tell us. We would definitely give some tips to you, for some high level bluffing (in poker, of course)!
Coming back to the hand… if the flop turns face cards, and you don’t have any, then either up your bluffing game, or fold. There’s a high probability that someone on the table has a face card. More so, someone might have two. Or they might be holding a pocket pair. So, it’s better to fold, after assessing the bets and raises.
After the turn
The flop is on the table, and you’re still in the game. That means you’re either holding a good hand, or you’re holding your bluff strong. If it’s the latter, hold strong! There are just two rounds of betting left.
Now the turn is where the least amount of bets take place. This is because of the high value of the flop and the river. But, if someone bets 3x-4x of the pot on the turn, and you’re bluffing, it’s a good time to fold. There’s another round of betting, and your opponent is looking for a draw. If you can’t bluff to him that you will have a better draw on the river, or are already not holding a good hand, fold.
After the river card opens
Once the river card opens, the entire hand becomes evident. There are no probabilities. Just certainties. So, if you’re bluffing,hit them hard and strong. If you’re playing on merits, check for the bets and raises. You’ve already survived three rounds of betting, and you’re holding a good hand. We are assuming so, as you’ve come this far without folding.
Now, if you were waiting for a draw, and that draw does not show up, tough luck. But tougher luck would be that someone has already guessed that you’re looking for the draw. If the draw does not open, hear the table talk, and you would have a hint. It’s best to fold if you think that someone knows you didn’t get your desired draw card.
However, if you’re heads up against another player. And they were also looking for the river card to open the draw, then you can bluff. It’s better to bluff when two hands are looking for a draw, than to not. Losing to a high card on the river, if you’ve held strong this far might not be the best idea. So, bluff. But… if you don’t have anything, and your high card is nowhere near the high cards on the board, then fold.
Now you know how and when you should fold, in generic as well as specific instances. You’re better prepared with your folds. Remember, a good fold is a well played hand. And anyway, the best part about a fold is that your strategy for that particular hand is lost in eternity. No one is any the wiser. And you can start a fresh hand scott free. So, do not hesitate. If you are hesitating to call, fold. Fold abundantly. But in any manner, play #PokerAnytimeAnywhere!