Jan 31 2010

Maximizing Fold Equity

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Sometimes you need to mix it up, particularly when you are battling someone who you have played with for quite awhile. You should be able to pick apart many players’ game once you have played a few hundred hands with them, if not you should be paying more attention to what is going on.

Fold equity is a concept that poker players tend to overlook, but it is extremely important. Fold equity, in a nutshell, is what is going to be derived from the times where you make a play and are happy with forcing a fold. These situations will often be spots where you will be happy with a fold, but aren’t going to be upset if the player makes a call. Different draws are great hands to have when trying to maximize your fold equity, but there are many other situations where your raise is going to compensate for those times where you get called and are behind.

Why You Need to Maximize Fold Equity

If you don’t maximize your fold equity there is a good chance that you are missing out on all kinds of value. This can either mean that you are folding hands too easily or that you are simply not playing them optimally. You can’t pass up on a hand simply because you are scared, the reality of poker is that you will be involved in many pots where your edge is razor thing. These situations are unavoidable and you can’t try to weasel your way out of them.

Players who try to take the easy way out of difficult situations will find that they bleed small amounts of money continually in exchange for saving themselves from losing one occasional big pot where they were 50/50. Would you rather flip a coin for $200 on 10 different occasions or lose $8 on 10 different occasions? Obviously you could end up being down money when flipping a coin, but theoretically you should be breaking even over the long run. When you take the $8 loss, however, you are guaranteed to lose. If you are unwilling to take risks there is a good chance that you shouldn’t be playing No Limit Hold’em at all.

No-Limit Hold’em, $1.00 BB (9 handed) @ Bodog Poker

Button ($58.85)

SB ($7.05)

BB ($100)

UTG ($90.91)

Hero (UTG+1) ($113.55)

MP1 ($77.54)

MP2 ($188.35)

MP3 ($142)

CO ($77.77)

Preflop: Hero is UTG+1 with 8s, 8h

1 fold, Hero bets $3.50, 3 folds, CO calls $3.50, 2 folds, BB raises to $14.50, Hero raises to $113.55 (All-In), 2 folds

Pre flop we are dealt a decent pocket pair and will want to open the action. A few players fold to our initial raise, one player calls, but then the big blind decides to make a 3-bet. Now, the big blind is a somewhat aggressive player and is capable of making this 3-bet with anything from suited connectors to pocket aces. He is also a player who is capable of picking up on a good spot to steal the pot away pre flop. Chances are that he has an AQ type hand at best, but is more likely to have a random suited connector or pocket pair. When it comes back to us we have a choice of calling $11 more to potentially win $100 (if we stack him on the flop), fold, or make a raise. If you call you will be screwing yourself into the ground for every time that you don’t flop a set. Since you won’t flop a set nearly enough to justify the odds that you are getting, this is out of the question. A fold wouldn’t be a terrible idea, especially against an unknown player, but we have some information on this guy. A raise all in will force him to fold those suited connector type hands, smaller pocket pairs, and the occasional pair of tens or jacks. Sure, he will call with AA, KK, QQ or AK every once in awhile, but we are playing the odds. Chances are that he doesn’t have this type of hand, but even if he does we are even money against AK and win one in five against the others. The folds that we force are evidence of the fold equity that we maximized.

Total pot: $33


Hero mucked 8s, 8h (nothing).

Outcome: Hero won $33

Comments Off - Click Here to Speak Up