Thursday, October 1, 2009

Will you fold these poker hands?

Would you be able to lay down these poker hands?

Last night, I was watching the WSOP on ESPN and a hand came up which was very interesting to me.

laying down on the job, in the middle of the r...Image by sean dreilinger via Flickr

A player in early position found A-J and put in a standard 3x the big blind raise. A player in late position had pocket 6's and called. The flop was A-6-x. (I don't recall the other card, but it wasn't a Jack.)

The pre-flop raiser put in about a 60% sized pot bet. The announcer said something to the effect that this guy was going to get in big trouble with this hand.

The player with the set raised to double that amount. Surprisingly, the player with the top pair folded.

My question to you is this: Would you be able to lay down that hand? I believe this player would have folded A-K to that flop raise.

Other Situations

This got me to thinking about all the situations in poker where a player just can't fold and will often say "I can't fold this hand." Of course, this statement means he knows he has the losing hand, so he is going to give his opponent more chips to prove he is smart/right.

I think that the flop raise is one of the most common situation where the lead bettor who hits top pair on the flop, will call a flop raise and lose a bundle.

Here are some other situations: Will you lay your hand down?

Pre-Flop: You have pocket Jacks on the button. One player raises and another player re-raises. Will you lay down your pocket Jacks? What if it was pocket Queens?

Flop: You have pocket Kings and raise. You get only one caller. The flop is A-8-2. Your opponent bets into you. Will you lay down your pocket Kings?

Flop: You raise with A-K and get three callers. The flop gives you top pair, top kicker. You bet and everyone folds, except the big blind. The big blind check raises you. Will you lay down that top pair, top kicker? That check raise often signals two pair, and sometimes a set.

Flop: You raise with A-K and get three callers. The flop gives you top pair, top kicker. It also has two suited cards on the board. You bet and everyone folds, except the big blind. The big blind check raises you all-in with a bet that is twice the size of the pot. Will you lay down that top pair, top kicker? That over-sized all-in bet often means a flush draw.

Turn: You have top pair and top kicker on the flop. You bet the pot and get one caller. With two suited cards on the flop, you figure that your opponent is on the draw. The turn card is a rag (like a 4) and not of the same suit. You bet again, and to your surprise your opponent puts in a big raise. Will you lay your hand down?

River: You have been betting your top pair, top kicker on the flop and turn. The river card is a rag and it doesn't provide for any completed straight or flush draws. You bet on the river and your opponent puts in a big raise. He has shown weakness throughout the hand, and now on the river he is telling you he is strong. Will you lay your hand down?


I am not suggesting that you should always lay down your hand in all of these situations. In fact, there are two situations above, specifically, the flop check raise all-in and the big river bet, where I will lean toward calling

But sometimes a good fold is a good thing.

Do you know of other situations where players tend to always call where it looks like they are behind in the hand?


Vera said...

learning the "art of folding" is one of the toughest things in poker but to be really good or great you have to be able to make big laydowns. I've folded KK, AA, a set, a flush, and probably a boat when it wasn't the best. But then I've turned around and went broke with all those hands as well. It really depends on your opponent and your reads. If he's a maniac I usually don't respect him as much, if he's TAG or passive I can get away from a hand. Also depends on your chip stack and M zone if in a tournament. I'm willing to take more risk as the short stack than when I'm comfortable. Great post Mitchell

Mitchell Cogert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell Cogert said...


Thanks for your comments!


--Tried to correct a typo in prior comment, but didn't work.

Bob Tarver said...


Great post and brings up strong arguements for being able to make the tough decision to fold a strong hand. Sometimes a poker player has to lay down a winning hand based on the situation at hand (especially when it could mean higher $$ later) Its not always easy trust me...but you have to take into account the variables that exists.

silknparachute said...

Excellent post, I might have trouble laying down the AJ, but will definitely consider it when facing big re-raises.

When you flop a big draw, whether straight or flush, and then you river a high pair.... I have trouble saying "good bye" and have lost to two pair, or higher pocket pair.

The best lessons are the most expensive... THE FIRST TIME. Once you learn them, they get cheaper and cheaper.

Angela Shyler said...

Sometimes I have a hard time laying down big hands,that is my downfall in poker,I always imagine the big hand being the best hand. I need to change that..:))

Mitchell Cogert said...

Yeah, too many big hands end up being a very costly, second best hand.


Angela said...

Well I have bought a book and am reading now to try to learn the rules of folding big hands.I beleive its just personal behavior that makes me always want to play the big hands down to the showdown even when I know I'm beat.I have got to learn to stop that :))

Mitch said...

Okay, if it's me, no, I don't fold my cards on the pre-flop.

Second scenario, no, I don't fold my cards.

Third scenario, I still don't fold my cards.

Fourth scenario, I probably do fold my cards, unless I'm short stacked and think I'm being bullied.

Fifth scenario, I'm probably throwing in my hand unless my top pair are aces.

Final scenario; yeah, I'm probably folding my cards again, feeling like a wuss, but waiting to fight another day.

What's Your Poker IQ?