Mar 25 2010

Making Tough Folds on the River

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: 1

It is a great feeling when you make a big hand on the flop. It feels even better when your hand improves on the turn. But how does it feel when the river puts out a flush and a straight? What about when your opponent shoves their entire stack in the middle? At one point in the hand you were probably filled with elation, but by the end you are dazed and confused.

These are some of the windy roads that you will encounter as a poker player. It isn’t dodging the situation that is important, it is taking the detour that will really allow you to evade trouble. You can’t help it when the river brings an unfortunate card, but you can save yourself some money by making a good fold. Good folds are often going to be just as profitable as good calls. Poker players don’t equate folds to making money, but isn’t a penny saved a penny earned?

As much as we might want to deny it, there are plenty of situations where it is obvious that we need to fold. Deep down we know that our hand is no good, but we can’t see past the face value of the hand. This is a costly trap that many players fall into on a regular basis.

No-Limit Hold’em, $1.00 BB (6 handed) @ Party Poker

SB ($140.35)

Hero (BB) ($101.50)

UTG ($101.50)

MP ($105)

CO ($118.45)

Button ($283.45)

Preflop: Hero is BB with Kh, 9s

4 folds, SB bets $3, Hero calls $2

Our pre flop action is a bit odd. This might look like a fold, but the small blind raised into our big blind. We do have a decent king, so we go ahead and make the call. It should also be noted that the small blind is on the aggressive side and will be stealing here a lot. If we make a decent hand, there is a good chance that we can take down a solid pot. Besides all of this, we get to play the hand in position. With all of this in mind, we head to the flop.

Flop: ($6) 6d, Ks, 2s (2 players)

SB checks, Hero checks

This is a great flop for our hand. We flop top pair, but we won’t get much value from hands that we beat if we bet here. The small blind might call with smaller pocket pairs, but a bet will usually kill our turn and river value bets.

Turn: ($6) 9d (2 players)

SB bets $8, Hero raises to $23, SB calls $15

The turn is a great card for our hand. To our delight, the small blind leads out for over pot. We have no choice but to raise in an effort to build a pot. All that beats us now is a set. We hope to get all of the money in the middle on the turn, but the small blind elects to simply call.

River: ($52) Jd (2 players)

SB bets $90, Hero folds

The river card is one of the worse in the deck. We now lose to JK, TQ and any two diamonds. The small blind goes all in for $90 into a $52 pot. This is a very big over bet. Remember that the small blind only called our raise on the turn, so it is entirely possible that they were on a draw. When this river falls and a bet this large is made, we have to fold. The small blind looks like they want to get maximum value from their big rivered hand, but we can dodge this pothole with a big fold. If the small blind was bluffing, he made a good play. More often than not we will be crushed if we call this river. Make the tough fold and save $75 in the process.

Total pot: $52 | Rake: $2.55


SB didn’t show

Outcome: SB won $49.45

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