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Push or Fold Poker


The fold equity is one of the basic poker concepts that some beginners have real difficulties coming to grips with, despite the fact that the reasoning behind it is extremely simple. The fold equity is often the most solid justification of aggression at the green felt.

You may have heard that aggression is the most efficient way to secure an edge at the green felt, be that a live one or online, and indeed, lately, the online poker stage has pretty much exploded with aggression. What beginners think of when they hear of aggression though is high variance, variance which their – usually meager – bankrolls cannot withstand. There is much more to aggression that that though, and while it may indeed induce higher variance, short term and long term, there is actual mathematical sense behind it.

Consider the following situation: our hero is in a late position (say, the cut-off) and the hand is folded around to him. He then gets the obvious chance to steal the blinds, which means he needs to place a raise big enough to force a fold. He can call too of course, but that would mean he would have to go to a showdown to win the hand. Why is aiming for an intimidation move the better choice here? Because of the fold equity.

 

By making a raise, the player in the cut-off secures two ways to win the pot: he will win it if the button – who has nothing ventured at this point – and the SB/BB fold. He will also win if one of them makes the call and take the pot further into the hand, and he manages to c-bet him off the pot later or to win it all straight-up at showdown.

 

Being aggressive in late position is pretty much a must these days. To be able to make heads and tails of this aggression though, one needs to understand the mathematics at work behind the equation. The fold equity is a major part of the mathematical justification of aggression, and now that you know what it is and how it works, you’ll be able to master your aggression and to more efficiently counter that of your opponents.

 

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