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A look at Fold Equity

Understanding fold equity is an important part of any players skill set. To bring it to life, let's look at a recent example. I was going through some hand histories with a friend of mine the other day when the following hand came up. It was folded around to him in a NL50 ring game and he open raised with the 10d-9d from the cut-off with a 104bb stack. This was all pretty standard and the game for the past fifty or so hands had been very tight. The average VPIP of the players that we knew about was in the 9%-13% range with PFR stats not far behind.

 

The big blind called him with a 97bb stack after the small blind had folded. The flop came 6d-3d-2s and the big blind checked. The pre-flop raise was to 3.5bb and so there were 7.5bb in the pot on the flop. Our hero bet 7bb and was immediately check-raised to 28bb. He eventually shoved for his remaining stack and was instantly called to be shown the 3h-3s for middle set.

 

He then asked me what I thought of his play. I told him that he had made the right play against the wrong player at the wrong time. He saw the equity of the flush draw with the overcards but incorrectly figured that this equated to fold equity. Against a LAG then the shove could be justified but against a TAG in a full ring NL50 then he is almost certainly going to have to make the flush far too often for the shove to be profitable.

 

There was nothing wrong with the pre-flop raise or the flop c-bet as the fold equity was very good on the flop along with the pot equity. Making a c-bet was mandatory on the flop but when he was checked raised then he needed to assess just what type of opponent he was up against. Like I said, I would fold the flush draw against a TAG in NL50 full ring unless I have reason to believe that they are a TAG who is temporarily getting out of line. Then I may shove but I need to be sure of my facts first. In this instance though then the fold equity that our hero thought he had was merely an illusion.

 

Many thanks to Carl Sampson for submitting this article. Carl plays free poker at PokerStars. http://www.pokerstars.co.uk

 

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