Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

LOL Donkaments: The Art of Folding

Fold. Pass. Muck. Three little words that mean you have given up on your hand and have tossed it back to the dealer, either real or virtual. It is a passive move to make and in a world where aggression is key some will frown upon you for such passivity, but sometimes folding is the best play even if it is one that your do not like to make.

One thing that you need to be aware of is that the value of chips differ at various stages of the tournament. For example, at the start of an $8 buy-in 180-man turbo tournament at PokerStars your chips are worth $0.0053 each ($8/1500) yet when you go on and win all of the 270,000 chips that are in play and the first place prize of $396.49 finds its way to your account, they are only worth $0.001468 each. The chips you start the tournament with are more valuable than those you can win so it pays to keep hold of them!

You need to get it out of your head that folding is weak because nobody likes to be perceived as being weak and having this mindset will make you reluctant to fold. While folding does not win you chips, it does conserve them and that in itself is vitally important. Being able to live to fight another day is crucial to success in poker tournaments.

In cash games, you have to push every edge that you have. If you gave me the opportunity to get my entire stack into the middle preflop with pocket tens against an opponent’s ace-king I would bite your hand off every time. Why? Because if I lose I can always top-up my stack and go again. However, in a tournament, particularly in the early stages, it may be correct to fold the same pocket tens in a similar spot so that you can use the chips later in a different situation where you are a more substantial favourite to win the hand. Obviously, this goes out of the window if the tournament is a re-entry or rebuy.

Folding can be used a powerful weapon, too. Not only does releasing your hand preserve your chips it also prevents your opponents from accumulating more, which is a win-win scenario surely?

Kenny Rogers got it spot on in The Gambler when he sang, “You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, known when to walk away, know when to run.” Figure out when you should be folding and walking away from a hand and you will find yourself going deeper in more tournaments more often than you ever have before.


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