Knowing When to Fold and Make Big Laydowns

folding acesFolding and making big laydowns is a part of poker that you need to be able to do if you want to be a winning poker player. Not every novice player understands that money saved is money won. I see live and online poker players falling in love with hands all the time, even when they believe they’re beat, saying something like “I know you have that ace, but I want to keep you honest.” Well, if you “know” the person has a better hand, then just LAY IT DOWN, and save yourself some chips for a future confrontation.

We’ve all been there, but being able to make disciplined lay downs is a critical part of your success as a poker player. Don’t be a calling station fish wanting to see what the flop or next card would have been. I can honestly say that I can lay down QQ’s now without question when I believe I’m beat. Is it easy? Heck no. Does it suck? Yes it does. But the thing to remember is there’s always more hands to come and you can get those chips back.

Don’t get me wrong. Laying down QQ’s would be a mistake against the vast majority of opponents, but if for examples sake, you know a tight player isn’t going all-in before the flop unless he has KK’s or AA’s, then by stacking off when you have QQ’s, you’re going to be a 4-1 underdog and in really bad shape to win the hand.

When you fall in love with a hand you’re throwing your chips in “hoping” for a miracle. Poker isn’t about praying for a card to come; it’s about giving yourself the best chance to win. You put your money in when you have the best chance of winning. And you fold when you believe you’re beat. It is never fun getting all your chips in the middle when you’re basically drawing dead and have little to no chance of winning the pot.

A general rule of thumb is if there are two over cards on the board, then there’s a safe chance you’re beat. For example, holding 99 on a K-Q-7 flop. Your pair of 99’s all of a sudden aren’t looking too good. I will not always fold a lower pair because when this happens, I have to reach into my memory and think about how the player I’m playing against plays. What range of hands are they playing? Are they capable of bluffing? Do they continuation bet and always give up? The point is, there are several factors you will need to consider on the flop, turn, and river; but the general rule is, the more over cards out there, the more chances you’re beat, and the more often you should be folding. Don’t level yourself into thinking an aggressive opponent is always bluffing.

And this brings us to another point. Being pot committed. If you have over half of your chips in the pot, then you’re pot committed. So always plan ahead knowing that once you commit that amount of chips you’re going with your hand. You’ll see so many fishy players calling off a huge chunk of chips preflop only to fold the flop when they miss.

Of course nothing here is concrete when it comes to knowing when to fold and make a big laydown. But in poker, you must be able to fold big hands, period. And good poker players know this!

Here is a nice compilation of some of the most amazing televised laydown’s, which is hard to fathom for those of us who are not quite at that level. There is so many factors in play that influence the decision making in these hands, and it would be great to pick their brains to understand how they came to make the laydown.

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