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Can I fold 9/10 hands and be legit?


I start my poker life tomorrow. I find I'm folding so many hands I'm worried about how the people at the table will react. OR is that acceptable? Help! I play tomorrow!


  • pgearan

    Hope things started off well for you! Welcome to he poker community.

    Are you playing cash or tournaments? That makes a bit of a difference as it is hard to money in a tournament in particular if you are folding too much. At least initially in cash, you can protect heavy losses by playing tight, and then open up as you become more skilled.

    Although one of the strategies people take when starting out is to play is to play pretty tight, you are right that this can be taken advantage of by experienced players. You will get a lot of blinds taken and make little money off your big hands because people will know if you are in a pot you likely have very strong holdings.

    Obviously if you are a beginner you do not want to go crazy either - playing too many hands just because you don't want to get pushed around is a recipe for disaster. I guess if I think about what kind of strategies I would take starting out to expand my range, assuming playing fairly deep stacked cash or tournament (50+ big blinds), I would try some of these things:

    1) If you enter the pot first pre-flop, make sure you raise (at least 2.5x to 3x) almost all of the time. Limping is another sign of tentative play, and should be avoided even starting out. You want to be seen as tight-aggressive not tight-passive. That said, with speculative hands and decent position, you can call an open limp or small raise.

    2) The hands I’d pick to open a range beyond top 10% hands (so beyond Ace/big kicker, suited Broadway cards, and medium pairs and higher hands) are ones that can flop well (i.e. middle suited connectors) and ones that make flop decisions easy (i.e., low pairs – unless you flop a set, don’t get crazy beyond perhaps a single continuation bet). Also hands that will be the nuts if they hit – suited aces with lower than Broadway kickers and also connected cards that can make nut straights. Again these all are hands you can open with in middle or late position or call small raise. Don’t get into big pots pre-flop with these hands.

    3) If you are the pre-flop raiser, you’ll need to be comfortable continuation bet at a high rate, somewhat like 70% of the time is the advice of a lot of poker professional theorists like Ed Miller and James ‘SplitSuit’ Sweeney suggest. This of course includes betting the flop a fair number of times when you miss. So you’ll need to get comfortable with that. Obviously bet your already made hands (e.g., big pairs) and when you hit (AK and K hits board), some marginal hands (middle pairs with an over or two on board and hitting middle pair) and then all you good flush and open ended draws. Then you’ll likely need to find some other ones like low pairs, gut shots, tow overs to board to get to about 70% (don’t worry about actually calculating this percentage just get a strategy for which hands to continue with). My advice is continuation bet when you miss more with only one other person in hand and avoid when it is a multi-way pot especially when you are out of position.

    4) Position – to underscore don’t mess around opening a ton of the hands above in #2 in early position. Stick to premium hands early position and I’d tend to raise them on the larger side in early position to drive out as many loose callers as possible. You want to isolate to a single player if possible with big hands out of position.

    5) Don’t defend many small blinds with weak or marginal holdings to raises. Open this up a bit with a big blind with hands that you can easily get away from post-flop but don’t defend your big blind with trash.

    I’m not a poker strategist, just a recreational player who has gone through similar growing pains so take this advice as just one person’s opinion. And again, don’t muck around if you get short stacked, you need to have good potential value to play these hands.

  • krista

    this is super advice for us beginners ty! .. i even read this over three times (am a blonde) smiles

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