Published on August 2nd, 2020 | by Jerry Doby


The Complete Guide on When to Fold in Poker

Poker has become increasingly popular over the years. With movies like Rounders, Ocean’s Eight and Molly’s Game showing the glitz, glam and sometimes, drama of the poker world, more people than ever are trying their hand at learning the game. And with so many online casinos offering poker alongside their land-based counterparts, its easier than ever to get involved. You can learn to play poker, and play well, from the comfort of your own home!

One of the important things when learning how to play poker — and something beginners struggle with quite often — is knowing when to fold. Here is your complete guide to learning when you should try out poker folding

The definition of folding in poker

Folding is when a player discards one’s hand, thereby forfeiting their interest in the current pot in play on the table. The player does not need to make any bets but they also can’t win anymore. The way to fold? Players can either do it verbally, saying ‘I fold’ or some variation, or placing their hand down into the piled of other discarded called (referred to as the muck) or into the pot.

Why fold in poker? 

It’s important to know when to fold as it can save your bank roll in the long run. It may not be the most exciting thing to get good at in poker, but it’s an incredibly important aspect of the game to get right. 

There are several situations when folding would definitely be the right decision:

1. Your hand doesn’t have much chance of improving to the best hand compared to the pot odds that you have.

2. You’re pretty sure you’re holding the worst hand and you’ve got a bet ahead.

3. You can’t tell if you’re ahead or behind, but the option is to call a big bet or wait it out. 

4. You aren’t closing the action and have odds to call and it’s likely someone else will make it to expensive to keep playing.

There are also situations where folding would be the wrong move:

1. You know you have the best hand at the table.

2. You have the worst hand (you think), but yo’re getting the right odds to call with your draw.

3. You’re behind, but you know you’ve got a good bluff.

4. You can check.

Some aspects to consider 

You need to consider both your odds and the action either behind you or ahead of you in the hand. You also need to know whether you’re comfortable with bluffing instead of folding; but bluffing is harder than it looks on the big screen!

The right way to fold

If you’re new to a poker table it’s important to get the language and actions right. Otherwise you risk being kicked out from the table. Knowing all the rules shows confidence, too — which is important if you’re going to make a bluff. 

You should wait until it is your turn to act before you fold at poker. Even if you’ve been dealt the worst set of cards, you need to be patient and wait for the other players ahead of you to call, raise or fold themselves. Playing online is different — you can often take the action in when you view your cards. 

An important thing to note is not to expose your cards to the other players when you fold them, otherwise you’re likely to face admonishment from the dealer. 

The Hero Fold — what’s it all about?

It’s player and situation dependent and occurs when a person makes a very tough fold, the kind that would have everyone shocked. It’s normally when a player has a dead read (or thinks that they do) on another player at the table. Their hand is usually incredibly good, and is shown at the table — hence the ‘hero’ fold. This is different than a ‘hero call’ which occurs when a player has a weak hand and calls a huge bluff. It’s the kind you often see in films, and is likely not to happen as often in real life as it’s portrayed in fiction. 

Using it in practice

Folding is just one of the important things you need to learn if you’re going to improve your poker game. And while there’s lots more tricks and rules, it’s the basics that you need to get right if you want to be taken seriously and advance in the game. And while people may overlook the importance of folding — it is, after all, ending your game play. But in the long term, it can drastically improve your bank roll if you’re paying right. Knowing when to fold is just as important as knowing when to call. It’s all part of being a well-rounded player and reaching more consistent wins overall.


About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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