When to Fold? Folding in Texas Holdem Poker

Folding in Texas Holdem

When playing any poker game, especially a game of Texas Holdem poker, you need to know when you should fold. Sometimes even a great hand is not going to win, and if you are too stubborn to fold, you are going to lose a lot more money or chips. Straights, flushes, and full houses are good hands in Texas Holdem, but even if you have one of these hands someone else might have a better hand.

When and how do you know when to get out and lay down your good hand?

Folding Straights and Flushes

The easiest potential hands to read are when there are 4 suits or 4 straight cards on the board. If you have the J of clubs and there are 4 clubs on the board, yes you have a flush, but is it good enough? If no one bets it is probably safe to throw out a bet on this hand. However, if you get a bet and a raise in front of you, your J probably isn't good. This is a case where you should lay down your flush. The same goes for straight cards. If the board is showing 5678 and you are holding the 4, there is a possibility that someone else is holding that 9. Again see if anyone bets. If there are big bets and raises out there, you are going to want to fold.

Folding High Pairs or 2 Pair

Laying down high pairs or 2 pair is where it gets a little tricky. It's harder to read if you are beat when there are no straight, flush or full house possibilities out. If you're playing at a full table and you have AK and the board is showing A946J, you have a decent hand but other players are betting and raising into you. Laying down aces with king kicker (a kicker is your highest card besides your pair; if 2 players both have a pair of aces, the next highest card in your hand comes into play as a tie breaker) is hard but sometimes you have to. As always if you have a big stack of chips and can afford to lose a little, you may play this hand all the way to showdown even if you think you could be beat.

Folding in Poker Tournaments

As your play should be much tighter in poker tournaments (as opposed to ring games), folding decent starting hands comes into play a lot. If you are close to reaching the final table and you get dealt 1010 as your starter and someone bets you all in, you might want to fold this good hand. Yes, your opponent may be betting AK or AQ or a starter that isn't a pocket pair, but you still have to ask yourself if you want to draw against another player for all your chips and your tournament life.

I remember one time my husband was playing a satellite tournament to qualify for $560.00 buy-in tournament. He had a huge stack of 150,000 chips and one more player had to go out for the rest to qualify. My husband was in 3rd place, with the 1st and 2nd place stacks at his table. He gets dealt pocket 10s, which he should have folded considering there were 2 very small stacks about to be all in on the blind the very next hand. My husband, being stubborn as he is, calls a huge raise by the chip leader. A 10 hits the flop, giving my husband trips; the chip leader bets at him again, putting him all in. To make a long story short, the chip leader is playing AQ and gets runner + runner (2 running cards on the turn and the river) to make his straight and knock my husband out on the bubble (bubble is a position in a tournament where you are the last person to go out of the tournament without any pay). This was a prime example, from the start, of when you should lay down a hand for a few reasons. 1) two smaller stacks were about to be all in and maybe out on the bubble, and 2) the chip leader bet big pre-flop into him. If these two simple things had been taken into consideration, all he had to do was fold at the raise, let the next hand be dealt and the small stacks be blinded in.

You should always get out of a hand the moment you think you are beaten, even if you are holding good cards. Also, you should always take a moment to consider your options before going all in on certain starting hands. I know it sucks to lay down hands like straights and flushes and even full houses, but in order to survive you MUST. Folding can be your friend and can save you a lot of money and or chips. I call folding a good hand "giving up the ghost" - you have a hand and it's there, but sometimes you just need to let it go and move on.

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