Unlike what some people may think, poker requires a lot of skill. It has surprising depth, with optimal poker gameplay requiring good math, strong mental fortitude, and the ability to analyze your opponents’ playstyles. Poker, particularly Texas Holdem, is known for taking a few minutes to learn but a lifetime to master.
Folding is one of the least enjoyable parts of poker strategy, especially for beginners. Folding is often seen as losing, as you give up on the hand and forfeit any bets you previously made. In reality, folding correctly is one of the biggest things that separates poker pros from the rest. Understanding when to fold can single-handedly save you more money than any other skill in poker. This poker guide will teach you everything you need to know about folding, from when to fold and when not to.
What is folding?
Folding is one of the five basic actions you can make in poker, the others being bet, raise, check, and call. When you fold, you stop playing in the current game. You return your hole cards, no longer need to respond to bets, and lose any money you put into the pot.
Folding is the subject of many misunderstandings, particularly for newer players. Almost every poker player starts by folding too little and calling too much. This behavior stems from a desire to continue playing, as even if it is implausible that their hand will develop into anything, they still cling on to some tiny shred of hope. They see folding as too final; some may think of it as a “coward’s way out.”
That is not the case. Folding is the reason poker is not a gambling game; if your hand is weak, you can fold without risking any money most of the time. Yes, if you are one of the blinds, you are forced to bet and cannot fold before that. While it may feel bad leaving the money in the pot, it is always better than committing more money to the pot throughout the game yet being unable to win because your hand is poor.
If you are a beginner, you should be folding way more often. How often you fold pre-flop depends on several factors, from your position at the table to your playstyle. In position (acting last or close to the last), you will want to play more hands than usual. You have a significant advantage in information over the other players, so you want to maximize profit while you are in position. Your playstyle also influences how many hands you play, as tight players play fewer hands and fold more than loose players.
With all this in mind, you should still fold over half your starting hands. No player will want to play with 2-7 offsuit and similar terrible hands. As a beginner, you will want to lessen the number of hands you play and focus on waiting for premium hands. Then, you will want to play these hands aggressively, betting and raising more often than calling and checking. This playstyle is known as tight aggressive and is the most recommended playstyle for beginners as it is simple to learn yet highly effective.
Folding post-flop is very different from folding pre-flop. Not getting attached to many hands is essential since the pot tends to build very quickly. You must recognize when to fold or call if you face a bet through techniques like pot odds and implied odds. You must also consider your opponent’s playstyle when they bet, as a tight player is unlikely to be bluffing, and a loose player may have a weaker hand than you. You can recognize this through behavior like calling on the flop and then betting after the turn, indicating they hit their draw.
Becoming a nit
Now that you know how vital folding is, you must recognize how folding too much can actually be detrimental. Players that fold too often and only play the absolute best hands are known as nits. Nits are known to be the easiest type of poker player to exploit for many reasons. Their playstyle is just too predictable since they fold many hands pre-flop and fold even more at the first sign of aggression. This stops nits from making money even when they finally get their premium hands. It is easy to recognize their shift and playstyle and simply fold, meaning the few pots that the nits win are small.
Nits also have another major weakness, which is how susceptible they are to bluffs. If their hand is weak or even just average, they will likely fold the first chance they get. Other players can simply bluff often to get the nit to fold. In conclusion, while it is better to tighten your range and start folding more as a beginner, you must remember not to overuse folding and become a nit.
Where to practice your poker skills
We hope this article taught you about folding, a crucial part of learning how to play poker. The best way to improve in poker is through practice, and the best places to practice are on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Online poker has plenty of benefits for those learning poker. You can play many games simultaneously, meaning more experience in less time. You also access poker trackers and heads-up displays, which are invaluable tools for analyzing your gameplay and opponents’.