Chris Wilcox Poker Coach
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Poker Strategy

June 9, 2008

Texas Hold em: Know when to fold em

Here is a concept that I see regularly misinterpreted: pot committed. When are you pot committed and what do you do about it if you are? Most internet players have no idea. Time and time again, I see players throw away a tournament, chasing down a hand that they have no chance of winning, simply because they had some chips already invested in the pot.

If you can fold and still have enough chips to make it, even through the next blind, you should do so if you know you are defeated. It is possible to make a come back, I have done it from being down to $20 in chips in a large Sit n Go where the starting balance was $1500! That’s not to say you can do it every time, but why not give yourself the chance.

Here is a perfect example from a hand I just played during a PokerStars 18-player Sit n Go tournament.

The blinds were $50-$25 and I was dealt pocket rockets in late position. My chips stack was at $2600. A player in early position whose chip stack was about $950 raised to 3x the Big Blind or $150.  The player immediately following him called, as did I after deciding to slow play my Aces a bit. Everyone else folded.

The Flop came 4-J-J rainbow. The J’s made me a little nervous, so after the first player bet another $150 into a $525 pot and got a call from the 2nd player, I raised to $1000 figuring to end things right away if no one had a Jack.

When I got a call, (all-in) from the first player, I glumly figured he had a J and my Ace’s were cracked, yet again! The 2nd player folded and I sat there in amazement looking at the 6d-9d that my opponent now had showing.

This hand was basically over before the Turn. My Aces held up and I won the hand, putting him out of the tournament. My question is: why in the world would you make this call?

At the point when he called my raise, he still had $600 in chips left. The Blinds were still relatively low, why not wait for some cards later on? He had put some chips in the pot and just couldn’t give it up, I guess. However,  I can’t see what he was expecting to hit to save him in this instance, forget the fact that I had pocket Aces.

This is another hole that many novice poker players have in their game that needs to be plugged asap. If you are obviously beaten, fold, and live to fight another hand.

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