MCU poker tip: Don’t fold instantly unless you’re sure

Sometimes you can get a tell on an opponent simply by not folding too quickly. I’m not telling you to slow up the game, but occasionally — when you’re in doubt about whether to call — you should conspicuously study your opponent.

Scrutiny

This extra scrutiny will sometimes make a player who’s bluffing uncomfortable enough to give you the clue you’re seeking. You just have to wait a few seconds and observe.

In general, if the player remains relaxed, you should fold, as you originally intended. But if there seems to be growing tension in the opponent and he becomes totally “poker faced” and motionless, even not breathing, you should consider calling.

Fear

Remember, a player who is bluffing will usually do nothing unusual for fear of triggering your call. It’s the absence of animation and the suspenseful tension that let you know that an opponent is more likely than usual to be bluffing. When you’re in doubt and fold too quickly, you often lose the opportunity to capitalize on this powerful tell. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

 

2 thoughts on “MCU poker tip: Don’t fold instantly unless you’re sure”

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  1. Question part 1……..would that last tip of priceless wisdom, apply more in tournament poker or cash games
    Question 2……if it does differ between
    the two then what on brief would they be ……
    Thank you for canstantly Improving my game with knowledge and and experience
    Cheers

    1. The concept applies to both tournament and non-tournament poker. However, in tournaments folding can carry more value than it does in regular games, especially if your chip stack is lower than average. This is because in proportional-payout tournaments (1st place, 2nd, 3rd, etc. having diminishing payouts), what’s important is your equity in the prize pool, not the amount of chips you have. The smaller your stack, the more valuable it is relative to its size. Therefore, in many situations, you should fold more readily in a tournament for reasons of survival. But we’re assuming your decision to fold already took all that into consideration. So, at that point, the concept holds. It applies to both poker forms.

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