When you first sit down at a poker table, it is important to assess the players as soon as possible. Who is winning, who is losing, what are their unique playing styles? Who plays well, who plays straightforwardly or by the book, who traps, who is cautious, who plays too many hands, who is aggressive?
Most importantly, who has the chips?
Inevitably, you’ll see a busy table with lots of banter, bluffing, raising, re-raising, mulling over and staring down. There’s one player with no chips reading “Card Player,”another one wolfing down ravioli with smelly Parmesan cheese, and there’ll be one player almost hidden behind Fort Chip.
She has 10 stacks of 40 chips each neatly arranged side by side. She’s peering out intensely but serenely above the stack, watching the goings on with much interest. You’re scratching your head over her because you can sit there for a while and never see her play a hand. But when you blink, look away and turn back, she’s raking in another gigantic pot and neatly arranging her 11th stack.
This is the player who folds the most. Provided she’s not too tight of a player, you want to be this player. Isn’t that why you’re playing? To win? The one who folds the most wins the most.
Do You Fold Often Enough?
The single biggest mistake most poker players make is that they call when they should have folded.
After all, most recreational players come to play—not to lay down their hands—and many get involved in pots with weak, unplayable starting hands. There are hold ‘em players who see the flop with any ace in their hand, regardless of their position in the betting order, consideration for the number of opponents in the pot—or, the amount of betting and raising that has taken place before it is their turn to act.
The one who folds the most wins the most.
Sheree Bykofsky is a literary agent, poker pro and the author of four poker books, including “The Kaizen Of Poker” (ECW Press, September 2018), in which this tip will appear.