Folding the “Winner”

Written by PokerGobette on . Posted in Poker Blogs

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SamvoGob The Black Cat

We’ve all had that sickening feeling where you make what you consider to be a “good” fold, only to see the hand called down by another player and you folded the “winner”.

There are a couple of scenarios I am going to discuss in this blog that constitute laying down the “winning hand”.

In the first instance this might occur on the flop or turn, but usually the flop. You believe you might have the best of it but the board looks so menacing that you concur that you cannot possibly continue in the hand.

Sometimes, if the hand is heads-up , your opponent will show you their inferior hand and in other occasions in a multi-way pot you may get to see the hand at showdown.

So how should you handle this scenario? In my view, one should firstly realise that once the hand is folded it is no longer the winner or loser. There is nothing you can do to change the outcome once you have folded. By coming to terms with fact you will be able to move on from these types of situations with your mind still in the game and avoid tilt!

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In the second instance, one might fold to a lot of action in a hand – but this time believing that you are beat, only to find out that you were bluffed off the hand.

Now in this circumstance tilt can easily rear its ugly head, therefore maintaining one’s composure is of utmost importance. It is imperative that you make it appear that you laid down an insignificant hand – as if you had absolutely nothing.

In a cash game you should play a few hands before taking a break to compose yourself, if needed. In a tournament you might just have to hope that a break is looming on the horizon or try to step a way for a minute or two when the moment is right and everyone has moved on.

Developing the ability to mentally move on from a hand that may have gone awry is a major skill in poker. It will infinitely improve your stature at the poker table and keep those tilt demons at bay!

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  • KiNG2SMooTH

    My story about the first time I was a victim of Tilt….

    It was when I first started playing poker live. I had AA and I called a small raise to see the flop. I was thinking in my head I want a K on the flop. Sure enough that K came out. One guy bet fairly large and everyone folded to me and I raised over the top thinking he had AK. He then pushed all in and I called. He had KK and ended up taking a little over 200$ from me. (at the time 200$ to me was 1/3 of a 2 week paycheck.) Talk about being on TILT….I got 50$ more in chips but I couldnt play anything I blew that money in a hurry. That was my crash course lesson on TILT lol. Now I have learned to move past a bad read or bad fold and move on…

  • pokergobette

    It’s good when you can learn from your mistakes.

    In a lot of situations you may not get to see a turn or river card, therefore you cannot be certain if your fold was bad or good. If your opponent shows a bluff there is still a chance that your “winning hand” could be outdrawn.

    Therefore it is better to just erase that hand from memory – if you can! Once the hand is folded it’s no longer in contention.

  • Team_Berry

    During the 2010 WSOP at the Rio in Las Vegas, they held several “daily” tournaments that ran about $200 to buy in for 10k in chips. It was packed on the 4th of July and there were about 500 + in the tourney I entered. I had played for a LONG TIME, we were close to the money but still probably 50 spots away. I had played my best, got lucky a few times and was clawing my way through. Finally I got moved to a new table, within minutes I doubled up from where I was at the move and even took another player out. I felt good about the new surroundings as it seemed conservative except for “Darvin Moon” looking character down in seat 7. He had a TON of chips and from the table talk I gathered he was a bit wild and loose. Next to him was an older Asian gentleman who also had a couple menacing towers of chips who played patiently from what I could tell.

    So button comes and I have pocket kings! Two under the gun is the “Darvin-Moon-wannabe” and he raises only 2x the blind. The Asian man called without much hesitation, everyone folds back to me. I think, “ah ha!! I got ya!” I put the ‘woodchuck’ on a medium pocket pair and the older gentleman A/K. I simply doubled the bet expecting something crazy from seat 7 and the Asian man to fold, then I would push all in. But no…

    As expected, seat 7 pushed all in with determined dumbfound look on his face – but what WASN’T expected – was the Asian man INSTA-CALLED!! Oh my God, my heart stopped…I had re-evaluate everything now. The fool would gladly through his chips away out of ignorance, but the older man was a much more cooler, calculated player – he would have never so quickly put his stack at risk for coin flip!! I looked at my KK again, suddenly they seemed so weak and small, I had to have been mistaken about what the older man had.

    I have a theory that if I have a pocket pair, at least one other player on the table has a pocket pair at the same time. So, based on my theory, the observations of how the older man played and his eager excitement to get it all in before the flop told me he must have pocket Aces. I was stumped, frozen and yes – as pokergobette put it – sick to my stomach. Right before someone called the clock on me, I took a deep breath and folded. The plaid shirted, scruffy hatted seat 7 called as my kings hit the felt and slid towards the muck.

    With both players all in, their hands were turned up – pocket 5’s for seat 7 & A/K for the Asian man. The players to my right and left gasped as they saw I folded Kings – then let out a sympathetic “awwwwww” when they saw the exposed hands. I said out loud, “it’s ok – an Ace is coming – watch,”. Flop came K – 5 – A, turn – Q – river was a blank of some sort, at that point I don’t remember as my eyes were blurred by the sudden spike of high blood pressure. Seat 7 won of course with his set of fives – the pot I would have won with the set of Kings had I stayed in – and the older man’s stack was crippled. It would have been a triple up for me and I would have made the money.
    I thought I was literally going to have a heart attack, I believe first place was over $14k that day and I would have been comfortably set in chips to make to the money.
    I was forced to get up and walk away while they transferred the massive stack of chips over to seat 7. I played the best I could with the rising blinds and went out about 30 to the money, just in time to see the fireworks over the Las Vegas strip.

    The moral to this story is this; don’t give a player too much credit, follow your gut ALWAYS – but know how to recognize the difference between ‘fear’ & ‘intuition’ and never take an action (like raising or checking with a big pair) without first running through several scenarios in your head and feel like your at least 3 to 5 steps ahead of the action in your mind. I had induced the action I wanted from the one player – but did not think too much ahead about the other player in the hand.

    To this day – every time I look down at pocket kings – that horrible ordeal flashes through my head. I think it actually helps me make more sound decisions, including still folding them if I feel I’m up against aces pre-flop in able to preserve my tournament life.

  • PokerGobette

    Great story Team_Berry! All good players will fold what could be considered the winner at some point in their career. It’s how one handles the beat that separates the true professionals from the so-called wannabees!

  • Guest

    Agreed

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