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How to adjust when you have no fold equity

January 12, 2008

Again, this is not an instructional blog, but one that I’m keeping for the purpose of collecting my thoughts, working my way through some concepts, and for archiving them. Fold equity, basically, is the value that you gain by the possibility that your opponent(s) will fold to your bet or raise.

Having been trained in “proper” poker play, one of the adjustments that I currently have to make is to adjust for my lack of fold equity. This happens when I’m playing opponents

  • who limp/call preflop raises, with either weak hands or sometimes with strong hands that they were afraid to raise, or
  • are calling stations post flop, or
  • are aggressive players who will “stand up” with weak hands. Watch out for them in the blinds at any level.

This first became obvious to me (at least in recent memory, I probably realized it earlier and forgot) when I was playing a cheap SnG months back. I think I was in the BB, short stacked but not quite dead, limped to me from late position by someone that I knew was a limp/caller, not needing strong hands to call after limping. My hand was moderate but I shoved.

During the split second that I waited for his response I realized that I had made a bad play because he was likely to call me, even though my shove represented half his stack. I had QT or something thereabouts, and he had K5 or something and neither of us caught anything. The point is, that I wasn’t keeping in mind the fact that against this player I had no fold equity, which is one of the reasons that you shove when no one shows strength preflop. And I’ve done this since as well, against more dangerous players, the tight ones who limp AK when the table is 6 handed and I shove my A6s only to find I’m dominated.

First thing to to; keep track of who these players are by watching. PokerAce helps with this; high cold call rates are what I look for these days. And of course, just watching the hands play out or checking the hand history.

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