Strong players make big lay downs

One problem often faced by new and not new poker players is to lay their cards down when they know they are beat heads-up. It’s just like with online roulette or online blackjack games, you should always be prepared to walk away when things aren’t going your way.

As Doyle Brunson and all the poker pros know, folding is a crucial skill to possess if you want to be good at poker. It is a question of overcoming your ego.

Maybe you started with the better hand such as a flopped set, your opponent drew against you and hit a straight and you cannot admit that the situation has changed. Or you think that given that the scary card completing the threatening draw has come at the river, your opponent is using it to make a bluff. Hence you are tempted to not fold.

It is crucial to learn to lay down your hands, in particular big ones such as sets, straights of flushes. These hands are big hands in absolute value, but if someone has a stronger hand, they are not big anymore. If the good poker decision is to lay down your hand, just do it.

One difference between good and bad players is that the former know when to fold a good hand. Good players get bluffed sometimes, but only the worse players never get bluffed out of a hand.

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Note that if you play at low or mid limit games, bluffing or semi-bluffing does not take place as frequently as you may think. There are pretty much two types of players: the ones who never or almost never bluff, who are the majority; and the ones who play loose aggressive, make frequent bets with their weak hands, and who naturally bluff a lot.

Observe each player and determine in which category he belongs.

If you are using online poker tools such as a poker tracker, the software will produce summary statistics that offer a good idea of who the rocks are and who the maniacs are.

If a player whom you have never seen making a bluff starts to bet heavily, is he suddenly bluffing out of the blue? Probably not, fold then. Rather focus on the LAGs and attempt to trap them when you have a strong hand. In both cases it does not matter how strong your hand is. If you think that you are beat given the betting of your opponent, lay down your hand. Believe your guts and you will make more money.

If you feel that you are always facing difficult decisions, it is either because you play too many marginal hands or because you are too passive. By being the aggressor you let the other player make the difficult decision, and you get the additional bonus of gaining fold equity.

Remember there is no shame in folding on the flop, if this avoids losing a bundle by the river. But sometimes the best action is to raise on the flop. This way you will gain information telling you where you are and you may even make your opponent fold the better hand. Or it could slow him down at the following streets.

Learn to force yourself to make big lay downs and your wallet will say thank you. Check our Everest Poker review, a room where you will meet many players who do not know how to lay down their hands.