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Poker Strategy: Fold Equity

  • Published Date June 25, 2020
  • By Admin

Poker Strategy: Fold Equity

Poker there are two possible ways to win the pot:

1. You can win if you force all your opponents to fold.

Fold equity refers to the equity that you gain based on the chances that your opponent will fold to your bet or raise. Although the concept of fold equity applies to all types of poker, it is more prevailing in no-limit games where you decide the value of your bet. It is also frequently used in poker tourneys as the various stack sizes make it easier to decide your fold equity.  To calculate the fold equity, aIn pply the equation below:

Fold equity= probability that opponent folds X gain in equity if the opponehave the premium hands at the showdown.

2. You don't fold

The first half of the equation would take a lot of analysis to assess how likely an opponent would fold their every hand. There are two ways to collect data and get a better profile:

Keep track of their folds: Pay close attention to how your opponent plays their last ten hands. Seven folds in ten hands would suggest that they fold 70% of their hand. But to make sure, it would be smart if you observe them over another ten hands to be sure of the percentage. 

Analyze their actions: By observing the minute details of your opponents might help to make them fold. For example, they could easily get frightened with big raises, or they might be prone to give up their blinds. This would lead to a decrease in their likelihood of folding if they eventually join a big pot.

What are the factors that influence your fold equity? 

In order to assess how much fold equity you have, you must consider the following factors:

Your Table Image: The fold equity increases as you have a tight image on the table. This is because your opponent will believe that you have the best poker hands to play. On the other hand, if you have been raising or betting on a lot of pre-flops or flops, the bet now might not be believable and will decrease your fold equity. 

Opponent’s table image: You must ask these questions to yourself before betting against your opponents. Do they give up their blinds? Are they adequate to fold after limping? Do they fold just to scare cards? Can they fold the pocket pair, middle pair, or top pair? If that is so, you have better fold equity than a calling station.

Opponent’s poker hand range: You must consider the various factors which make up the opponent’s poker hand range. The vital concept is of all the opponents how many of them will fold if you bet or raise.

Stack sizes: In a poker tournament play, the stack size is essential because it decreases according to the blinds. If either you or your opponents are under 30 big blinds, they must think about your current as well as future bets. This means that their whole stack might finish in the middle. So, they have to decide if calling this bet is worth playing by using all their chips.

Another concept also applies to the poker tourney, if the short stack opponent raises, they will be left with a few big blinds. A re-raise will not have much fold equity as your opponent is so short that they are desperate. Likewise, you will have higher fold equity if you are shoving everything in pre-flop when the stack is medium-sized. Fold equity declines if you bet into a monster stack or a desperate short stack.

Poker Table Position: If you are in an early position, a raise from such position will accumulate more fold equity rather than a button raise due to the relative power of your hand strength. A raise from the late position can be seen as stealing the blinds.

The number of opponents: Remember that the more players in hand, the less fold equity you have. When the number of players increases in the pot, the probability of call or raise goes up. It generally refers to continuation betting and raising limpers before the flop. You might be eager to bluff, but remember that as the number of players rises, the success rate may go down.

Bet sizing: To bet bigger does not mean that you will obtain more folds. Certain opponents will perceive bigger bets as a bluff and will call more often. You should plan to size your bets mathematically so that you have the possible fold equity and have the maximum long-term expected value. In certain cases, when you think that your opponent will fold, you should make a smaller bet.

Stage of the tournament: As a tournament player, your bet or raise during the poker bubble stage would always have considerably more fold equity. This involves a money bubble, final table bubble and any major pay jump. You should know your opponent and select those who are trying to creep right into the money.

When should you calculate fold equity?

Players could never be entirely sure of which cards their opponents might be holding. Thus, you shall always target those players who are easy to read. Fold equity can become insignificant against audacious players who are not steady to hold a set of patterns. The same is relevant for short-stacked players who take needless chances to remain in the game. The optimal time to calculate fold equity is when players with short-stacks are displaying a consistent pattern of play. You have to be confident to make sound choices.

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