Hero Folding

Show me a poker player who likes to fold. You can hardly find one. No one plays poker to lay down your cards hand after hand. We are hungry for excitement, huge pots, seamless bluffs and astonishing calls with third pair! But if you really want to turn from a regular player who plays poker for fun into a poker guru who always wipes his opponents out and earn unbelievable profits at the tables then you need to learn the science of the hero fold.

Folding in the proper way when you are in a difficult situation can save you a great deal of chips, and you should realize that chips saved are just as important as the chips earned in the end. Any experienced player knows how to fold a marginal hand that is obviously outplayed, but it takes a special knowledge and skills to make a fold correctly. So how can we define a hero fold? It should be made when you hold a really powerful hand but suspect that one of your opponents has a better hand. For example, you have a Queenhigh flush and feel someone at the table has the nut flush, or you have pocket Kings preflop and fear that your opponent holds Aces. Still, hero folds must be made very carefully since you should have sufficient information about the hands of other players from different sources, such as betting behavior or timing tells in order to avoid making the ‘regular’ call. We will have a look at some difficult scenarios and help you spot the situations when your chances of winning may not be as great as it seems…

Hero Folds Before the Flopi<
In the aggressive 6-max cash games folding such strong cards as A-K, a pair of queens or kings before the flop makes sense only in rare cases. However, you should still be aware of them and always question the strength of your hand. For example, let’s say you’re playing a six-max $1/$2 cash game and a tight player raises a bet under the gun. Then, a nit 3-bets him UTG+1 and you make a 4-bet from the big blind with a pair of kings. Now both players stack off before your turn. The whole situation screams that you should fold. It’s quite probable that one of the players has a pair of aces. As you can see, you should to take into account a host of different factors before making the decision to fold your pair of kings. A more wide spread situation where you might have to make a hero fold is when you hold a pair of queens or A-K. If the game is online, you are recommended to resort to special tracking software and keep tabs on 3-bet and 4-bet percentages of other players. If they are not high, you can fold to a 4-bet and never regret making such a decision. This is especially reasonable when you have A-K because such type of easily predictable players are highly unlikely to either 4-bet bluff or go all-in with hands weaker than of Ace-x type. Folding a pair of queens is even trickier as even rookie players can opt for an aggressive play with A-K before the flop. No golden rule can be recommended in these situations, you are the one to decide which is better. Weaker players often make a small 5-bet instead of going all-in each time they hold a pair of aces. If you ever see this from a rookie, seriously think about folding any hand you have unless it’s Aces! Quite honestly, in web-based Multi-Table Tournaments where relative stacks are less than 30BBs you shouldn’t fold a pair of jacks or better hands prior to the flop. The only case to think about folding is when you see someone making unusually tiny bets. Live tournaments will allow you to make better read on other players before the flop. You’ll be able to spot when that player is the type who only ever 3-bets aces or kings or when they are aggressive with a greater spectrum of hands. Thus, you will sometimes need to fold such strong hands as A-Q or T-T that you would normally go all-in with.

Postflop Heroes
Being absolutely sure when you should make a hero fold after the flop needs a solid awareness of hand reading and ranges, as well as a lot of self-control. Here is a situation that includes many factors you should be able to detect when thinking about hero folding. In a 6-max $2/$4 cash game the table fish made a raise to $12 UTG, a regular called and you did the same on the button with 8 and 6 of hearts. The flop was an ace of clubs-a queen of hearts- a 10 of hearts, the fish bet $28, the regular called and you called behind holding a flush draw. It's possible that your flush draw isn’t the best on this flop but, since the board is totally crushing the fish's opening range you have reasons to believe you would be able to stack him provided a heart arrived on the turn. The turn was the 3 of hearts, and voila – you get a flush. After that, the fish checked and then the regular bet $90. In a similar situation you'd snap-raise. Isn’t it counter-intuitive to fold flushes in a 6-max cash game? However, such persistent betting on the regular’s part in a multi-way pot with a fish (who will probably call) can hardly be taken as a mere bluff. As soon as you guessed that the regular's range is weighted towards value hands you have to admit that your eight-high flush isn't the best hand. Yes, you are not afraid of his sets and straights now, but later in the game he could improve his hand. That leaves only his flushes, most of which you lose to. You called the turn, the fish mucked his hand and the regular bet $225 on the river (the deuce of diamonds) into the $306 pot. Since your hand is nothing else but a bluff catcher right now, it's one of those occasions where your best decision would be to make the hero fold. He might misinterpret your range and decide to value bet a straight, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. His big bets signify that he has a higher flush as it’s exactly the move he would make if he believes you have a lower flush. You should fold without regretting your decision.

Heroic Checklist
When thinking about a hero fold you should consider some more factors. First, the golden rule is the higher the number of players in a pot the more direct play they show. To put it differently, they capitulate with their garbage and value bet their strong hands. Thus, if the pot is multi-way and you hold something less than absolute Brazils, be ready to discover that your hand is no longer good. You can make a call in a large pot, but your hand needs to be strong enough to outplay some of your opponent’s value range or there must be high odds that they are simply bluffing. Otherwise you should better fold. Keep in mind, though, that you should carefully weigh down the decision to fold a decent hand against a fish. This advice might seem unreasonable but a fish tends to make mistakes while analyzing the strength of their hand, mostly exaggerating it. I’m not saying you will enjoy making hero folds. Far from it. Even if your decision to make a hero fold is supported by numerous observations, there is no guarantee that you didn’t make a big mistake, but you should do your best not to let this sense of self-doubt bite into your head like an apple and affect your ability to concentrate on the game.

Don’t think that this article aims at making you muck strong hands whenever there’s a slight chance that your opponent has a stronger hand. Its aim is to remind you that poker situations cannot be conformed to one standard and no matter how strong your hands are, you should play them with self-awareness. By simply hypothesizing that your chances are not as great as it seems and you could lose in a situation where before you would have called without any hesitation is a sign that your hand reading skills, and your general poker skills, are developing. When you get to this stage of self-awareness, you’ll see that your poker decisions about hero folds are getting more accurate.