Beyond the efforts, training and perseverance necessary for progression in any discipline, one of the keys to becoming a good poker player is found in the song “The Gamble” by Kenny Roger.
When he says “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em”.
Knowing when to fold is the difference between a good player and a bad player
The main characteristic of a weak player is his propensity to play a lot of hands. But, unlike a good player who can also play too much, he remains a bad player: why?
First element: the good player bets and raises while the bad player will check and call.
Second element: the good player will know when to fold, despite the quality of his hand.
For example, you have 5 7 and the flop comes out 6 8 10. A nine on the turn or the river opens the doors to a straight. A bad player will realize this while forgetting If by chance the 9 appears on the board, your suit is less interesting than someone who has a suit with a Jack. A good player would not call beyond the flop and would then prefer to fold.
- Third element: the bad player plays on instinct and emotion while the good player calculates his chances and does not bet if they are not good enough (this also ties in with the second point above).
If you lose two or three hands in a row, you may be tempted to want to recover quickly and continue hoping to get lucky with average hands. A good player always acts carefully: he will have analyzed the situation and made a decision accordingly, which will not be the result of chance. While a good poker player is meticulous and calculating, a bad one will be motivated by feelings and luck.
Knowing when to Fold is a winning strategy:
Why is folding an essential strategy in poker? The overriding idea here is that by folding you only lose a battle and not the war. If we continue with the analogy, a good warlord would rather lose one soldier than an entire army.
Three good reasons/advice to let yourself be convinced:
Choosing your weapons:
A weak player is someone who plays too many hands. Go with premium hands to reduce your chances of having to fold later. Don’t hesitate to raise to eliminate your opponents little by little while keeping one or two customers to pay you. Conversely, don’t play too tight because other players will spot it and not pay you when you decide to raise.
Know when to fold a high cards:
If your hand allows you to see the flop, it does not force you to continue beyond. A good hand pre-flop can be reversed by the flop draw: don’t play if you expect to be dominated. For example, you have QQ but the flop draws A K 10, your chances of winning the pot have been reduced considerably, by the simple possibility that one of your opponents has a K or an A.
The value of the cards:
to play without regrets, calculate your chances of improving your hand and evaluate those of your opponents. Poker probabilities and calculations will sometimes make it easier for you to fold.
How to stay focused in all circumstances:
The first difficulty when trying to learn to fold in poker is combating your competitive nature. Often associated with a refusal to give up, it is quite frustrating to apply this strategy. How can you win without playing? Instinctively, we would like to throw ourselves into battle, but leaving with only the most advantageous weapons is a significant comfort.
It is a very difficult strategy to apply at the beginning because it causes boredom, distraction and impatience when on the contrary, to improve your game and develop it, you should be attentive to others and patient. Here are some ideas, in real situations, to help you combat boredom:
There are exercises to perform at the table: finger crunches, neck stretches, shoulder shrugs, deep breathing exercises, etc. are all elements that will relax you and allow you to stay focused when you are seated – outside of the shot that is being played.
With this in mind, you can also get up and walk around to release tension and get the blood circulating.
You can also eat some nutritif food.
This set of little tips allows you to avoid taking all the hands while remaining in the game, focused and attentive to others and to your game. Of course, it is a question of not systematically folding or refusing to play all games because you will then be read as a tight player who only goes with a premium hands and no one will risk calling you and paying you.
Finally, know that you will not always play like this; With practice and experience, you will see that almost every hand becomes playable in certain situations.