Fold Equity & Key Positions

The idea of ​​“fold equity” may sound daunting, but it’s actually a pretty simple concept.

Essentially, fold equity is the extra amount of capital you get when you consider how likely your opponent is to fold. Calculating the correct amount of fold equity is highly dependent on your ability to read your opponent. In other words, you must be absolutely confident in your ability to get your opponent to fold. The calculation formula is as follows:

Fold equity = (probability that your opponent will fold) x (your opponent’s capital in hand)

Let’s take a look at a working example, provided by mmc 996:

Imagine playing against your friend Cold-blooded Joe. … You are dealt 6 ♣ 6 ♥ and Joe got J ♠ 10 ♦. This is a classic coin toss situation where your chance of winning in a hand is almost 50:50 right now. In fact, your exact chance of winning is roughly 51%. Thus, if the bank had $ 100, your capital in the bank would be $ 51 ($ 100 x 51%)

However, this does not include the possibility that Joe might fold if you place a bet or go all-in. It turns out that there is a 50% chance that your friend will fold when betting all-in. The fold equity in this example would be: 5

50% (probability of discarding the opponent’s cards) x 49% (capital in the opponent’s bank) = 24.5%

So your total pot equity of $ 100 will be approximately $ 75 ($ 51 pot equity + $ 24 fold equity).

Obviously, the more chances that Joe will fold when betting, the higher your fold equity will be. This is why it is really important to learn how to read your opponents well when calculating the capital in the bank.

In fact, it is very difficult to calculate your capital at the table, because you are not given the cards of your opponents. However, understanding the concept of fold equity can help you make better decisions.

Perhaps the most common situation where fold equity is used for maximum value is when a player is one card short of making a flush or straight. For example, let’s say you are playing Cold Blooded Joe again. You are holding 5 ♦ 6 ♦ and Joe is holding K ♥ Q ♣. The flop is dealt K ♦ A ♦ 4 ♠. Now in this situation, you only have a 40% chance of winning the hand compared to 60% for Joe. Now, you are fairly confident that Joe will fold 50% of the time if you place a big bet. This increases the total capital in the bank from 40% to 70%. Therefore, it would be more profitable in the long run to make a semi-bluff bet in this situation.

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How To Play With Pocket Pairs

The challenge, rather than betting or raising all-in-itself, only gives you one way to win: by holding your best hand. Betting or raising gives you two avenues to win: the best hand or from getting your opponent to fold. That sounds much better, don’t you think?

Pocket pairs vs overcards

  • Hit at least one of the overcards. For example, QQ versus AK, and the final board is KJ- 7-5- 2
  • Straight. For example, 7-7 against J-10, with the final collegium the next Q -9-8-7-2 (even making a lot of sevens on the turn did not save a pocket pair)
  • Flash. For example, 8 ♥ 8 ♦ against Q ♠ J ♠ with the final board next 10 ♠ 9 ♠ ♥ 3 ♥ 8 ♠ (here, in one river the card that gave the eights their “lucky” set also created a flush)
  • Counterfeiting is one of the biggest problems, with smaller pairs. For example, 3-3 versus A-9 and the final fee comes 10-6-6-5-5. Your opponent’s ace gives him an advantage. So be very careful anytime you have a small pair and a large pair on the flop.

However, there is one case where the odds are favoring your pair. Possessing QQ and being against AK puts you in one of the most favorable ‘pair versus overcards’ situations. At 4:03, or 1.33-1, or 57.2%, however you name it, you’re pretty far from the coin’s flip territory.

This edge is up to the strength of your queens. They significantly reduce AK’s chances of winning directly, as the queen would need to hit the board to make this possible. And with two of them lurking at a safe distance you’ll be in the driver’s seat for sure.

Middle pairs (6-6, 7-7 and 8-8)

Most of the time these hands are played as small pairs. On the positive side, they are not as vulnerable to counterfeiting, and sometimes you will only be up against one overcard, not two

Danger couple (9-9, 10-10)

The danger of a pair is to play a lot like middle pair, but will from time to time hold their own against an opponent who has hit part of their side (like someone plays-8 fits, someone hits on 8). Playing them like you would average pairs, you will very rarely be in danger of being faked, but try not to push them too hard. You will only end up disappointed .

Figure cards


Single is a difficult hand in no limit. It looks good because it is the face of the card, but it is vulnerable to many other hands. Just play it hard in good post-flop situations and don’t try to take on the world with him preflop


The third best starting hand in Hold’em. And we recommend that you play aggressively. Withdraw with a significant raise, then sit back and wait to see if the flop is an ace or king before taking the next move


The ‘Cowboys’ are a strong hand, but they are still inferior to aces, because even a beginner playing A-3 has a 30% chance of beating you. So be careful when they land on their knees because no one wants to lose like that


“Pocket rockets” are more because you will never stand in front of an overcard. But like all the dangers of cards we talked about you still need to know when to get away from them. Most importantly, what you do is not slow down to play this hand. You will be caught if someone else at the table gets into a strong hand, and you give them in cheap. If there is ever a hand to show who is boss, it is he.

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Counting Numbers and Potential Odds

In poker, you can make good money from the mistakes of your opponents. But first, you have to decide if it is worth the candle.

In this kind of situation, the potential hand winnings are wagered against the amount with which you need to make the following answer).

Let’s say you are faced with a $ 20 preflop raise. The raise has $ 500 and you think you can win that amount if you create a good hand. So you pay $ 20 for a potential win of $ 500, which gives you a potential odds of 500/20 or 25/1.

You have to be careful because potential odds are only useful in certain situations.

When to use potential odds

If you are playing against players who only call and never raise, or maniacs who play in any way, then the potential odds are useful since you have no idea what hands your opponents are holding. If your opponent is rock or plays tight for whatever reason, you won’t have this kind of problem.

In addition, if the value of your hand is obvious to everyone around you, you will not be able to extract the full value from it, so the same chances will no longer apply. Suited connectors and small pairs are the best hands to take your opponents by surprise, and this is where potential odds come in handy.

Example 1

The blinds are $ 2 / $ 4 and you open with a raise pre-flop to $ 15 with pocket fives. Your opponent (the tight player) raises again, raising the pot to $ 100. You decided to call an extra $ 85 because your opponent has $ 1400 in chips left and you think the potential odds are 1400: 85

But is it?

If your opponent has AK or pocket 10s and gets nothing on the flop, he is likely to fold. In this case, you call with $ 85 to win $ 121, not $ 1400. This makes the answer the wrong move, because the odds of hitting a set on the flop are 7: 1, and you only get 1.4: 1 for your money.

If you knew that your opponent has a big hand and is going to use all his chips post-flop, that is a different story.

Example 2

Your opponent is a tight, predictable player who just barely made it to early position in a $ 1 / $ 2 cash game. After you’ve raised the button to $ 10 with pocket fives, the player raises it again to $ 25. a lift high enough to weed out players, but also a low lift enough to trigger a response or two.

You already know from a previous game with this opponent that he has a big hand. If you call before the flop, your odds are only 2/1 on the call preflop, but if you make a hand (say 7-5-2) you can win 15 more.

There are potential odds here, but only because your hand still has potential.

Example 3

You are in a real money $ 1 / $ 2 No Limit Hold’em game on the 6 ♥ 7 ♥ button. The under-barrel player moves and you raise to $ 8. The under-barrel player raises to $ 16 and you call his move.

The flop comes Q ♣ 8 ♣ 2 ♥, your opponent bets again and you fold. Why? Because you failed to improve your hand on the flop. You don’t need to know the potential odds to know that the game is not worth the trouble.

If the flop came Q ♥ 8 ♣ 5 ♥, then it would be time to raise with the hope of a straight and flush draw. Except that it didn’t.

Potential odds can be helpful, but use common sense first; apply potential odds in specific situations where you can get money after the flop.

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