Knowing when to fold monster hands preflop – sometimes it will save the day
Everyone knows the old poker adage – you have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.
This is true, in some cases, even if holding what seems like the perfect monster pair.
A successful laydown can make the difference between advancing in the hand and being sent to the rail, and learning how to understand when to do so is crucial skill every poker player needs.
It’s not always an easy skill to acquire – there is a lot to consider when making the correct decision and all angles must be calculated. A strong hand, such as A-Q or pocket Jacks, would almost always lead to a player playing aggressively in order to set the pace and take a big pot.
This could be through raising or re-raising, in the even someone has already led with a bet. When facing aggression by a player who raises again, it’s time to stop and seriously consider what’s happening and the response will depend on the type of game, the stacks and who the opponent is.
For instance, if the action turns really aggressive early in a tournament, consider that the opponent making an aggressive re-raise has a strong hand. As opposed to similar bets later in a tournament that has larger blinds and antes, there is no real incentive early in a tourney to go on a counter-attack.
This means that the opponent is most likely sitting on something strong, as well. Don’t come back over the top; call the bet and let it ride to see what happens on the flop. If the re-raise was extremely aggressive, it might be better to just fold and wait for another hand that offers stronger odds.
It’s also important to consider an opponent’s playing style when deciding how to respond. Learning the table’s characteristics and how they play are critical components when it comes to analyzing different strategies. Without understanding the players, any reaction to an opponent’s move is nothing more than a guess.
Take, for example, a player who has been identified as only being aggressive when holding A-K. If you’re holding A-Q, or even pocket Jacks, your hand suddenly doesn’t look so great.
This might be a good situation to withdraw and let the hand go, instead of getting caught in a trap that could lead to disaster. A loose player who always plays aggressive should not discourage you from continuing in the hand – your odds of having the winning hand are higher against someone who always takes too many risks.
Poker is an incredible game with so many unique combinations that it is impossible to always get it right. This is especially true when faced with situations that require complicated decisions.
Every player, even the most successful professionals, have been bluffed more than once in their lives; however, learning how to make big laydowns pre-flop can ultimately be extremely rewarding and profitable. As always, it’s not about winning the hand – it’s about winning the game.