The (Second) Best Fold of All Time

The (Second) Best Fold of All Time

Okay, I don’t really think this is the (second) best fold of all time. Maybe not even in the top 20.

But what made this hand so sweet is not the merit of the fold, but rather the speed at which it was done.

And although I wish my brain was some super computer which processed algorithms and crunches number like IBM’s Watson, it’s not. (Yet).

I was able to process this information so fast because while my opponent was betting I observed him and his intentions. I used what no super computer in the world can, sheer, raw instinct.

I have an internal dialogue, which I ask myself before each and every time I make a decision.
What is my opponent’s intention?

And, while watching him formulate his bet, I realized something.

This man wanted to get paid.

It didn’t matter that he had bluffed off several times before, that he was stuck, frustrated and perhaps playing too many hands.

My read was that he wanted to get unstuck and this was his hand to do it.

If that’s true then I only beat a bluff. Any hand that he value bets for $3,000 into a $2,400 pot has me beat. And since he’s not bluffing it means I’m beat.

I didn’t let the noise from the past distract me, or talk myself into some useless game theory optimal call.

I just made the right decision in the moment, and folded.

People often ask me if the math or instinct is more important. They’re missing the true essence of what it means to make decisions at live poker. How can I separate two things, which are intrinsically connected?

The truth is both are equally important, because they are one in the same. Instinct (or your reads) affect the math, because the read you get in any given moment skews the range of hands your opponent could have.

First I used my instinct to make a read. This narrowed down my opponents range dramatically.

Then I used math. Given that I didn’t think he was bluffing my decision was rather simple. Against his value betting range (9x, sets, and straights) I beat 0% of hands, therefore I folded.

It’s only if he’s bluffing or value betting worse can I mathematically justify calling.

So the next time you’re in a predicament use your instinct to make a read. Then base the math off your read, keeping in mind that your read influences the hands that your opponent could likely have.


P.S. Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to my You Tube channel and be the first to know when the next Hand of the Day is out!

You May Also Like

  • Steve O

    I was in a cash game where it ended up AA vs KK … monster pot … both flopped sets, Kings TURNED quads … river was a blank … Aces Full bet, Quad Kings pushes, Aces Full FOLDS!!!
    Quad Kings wins the pot AND $500 high hand for the night! Happened at Harrah’s of Philadelphia. Now THAT was the FIRST best fold of all time!

  • Alec

    Sounds like it! Epic fold!

    Thanks for sharing Steve.

  • Martin Smith

    This video starts “I am in the straddle…” Why do you straddle? I never do this, a key principle for me is to avoid inflating the pot out of position and when you straddle you do this without even seeing your cards, so you can easily end up in trouble spots when you end up calling raises with marginal hands like weak Ax, 96 etc.

    • Alec

      I agree Martin, but it was ubiquitous in this game, practically obligatory. We were just having fun for television.

      I called with that hand because of my pot odds as well as the mediocre players in the pot, although I’d do that in the BB as well 🙂


  • Necta

    The raise preflop suhold be three times the big blind. Also you suhold tell us who else was calling. A raise to $400 suhold trigger an all in by YOU, unless youthink he has pocket 10s or something. You want to go all in as early as possible so the odds are in your favor.Nonetheless, I think your opponent sucks if he calls pre flop with two lowly clubs and only raises you $1000 more. He suhold have gone all in to put the pressure on you. You suhold play more with him. haha. The odds will be in your favor.Can t wait to play in Hong Kong.

    • Alec

      Hhahah thanks Necta. See you in Macau!