What Hands to Fold in Poker: Defense is the Best Offense

What makes Texas Hold’m poker attractive is largely the uncertainty that lies within it.

Every time a community card is turned over, it affects the situation on the poker table. Before the flop, when you only see two hold cards, there is no right or wrong way to play. For players at different levels, their poker strategies in the same scenario might differ.

However, defense is often the best offense. Every decision a player makes should be strategic and aimed toward winning money in the long run. We prepared this guide so that even a beginner can have a better understanding of what to fold safely in their poker games.

 

1. Give It Up at a Glance

For some hands, as long as you get them, you can basically make your decision to fold. SLOWPLAY has compiled these hands that should be discarded for your reference.

  • When X≤6, any hand except 「X+X」or「X+A」should be folded.
  • Any hand with seven, except 「7+7」「7+A」or「7+8」should be folded.
  • Any hand with eight, except 「8+8」「8+A」「8+7」「8+9」or「8+10」should be folded.
  • When X≤7, any hand with「X+9」should be also folded.

Don’t worry if it seems a bit complicated to understand. Simply download our cheat sheet. Any hand that falls into the golden area in the sheet should be folded. It is strategically better to wait for the next round for a more ideal hand.

Texas Holdem Cheatsheet | What hands to fold | SLOWPLAY

If you are a beginning poker player and have not yet figured out how to win in Texas Hold'em, when you encounter these types of poker hand, you can be sure to fold them and keep your chips to make a profit in the long run. Even if you are in the blinds and you get to see the flop round for free, with these hands, you would still need to check and fold when other players start putting chips into the pot.

 

2. Don’t Play the Ambiguous Hands

In addition to the hands that we recommend giving up at a glance, there are also other poker hands that are ambiguous of whether it is playable or not. What we suggest is to fold them as well. For example, these hands could be low pocket pairs, aces with playing cards that have a face value of less than 10, or suited connectors with a seven, eight, or nine. These hands might make you hesitant to fold, but in reality, your chance to win is fairly small and they lose on average. Therefore, simply suppress the urge to enter the pot with these hands. (Check out our cheat sheet provided above, these ambiguous hands are also included in the golden area.)

Simply put, these cards are "OK to play but not necessary." If you just want to enjoy the process of the poker game, then go ahead. But if you want this hand to win poker chips for you, then probability is not on your side.

So... what kind of hands should you play?

The answer is high pairs, high suited cards, and high unsuited cards. These hands can help you complete high pairs, flushes, and high straights which give you the best chance to win the pot.

 

3. How Positions Might Affect Your Strategy

Your position at the table also has a greater impact on whether you should fold or not. If you are in the early position or even the blinds, unless you have an excellent hand like pocket aces, kings, queens, ace king suited, or the bottom line - ace queen suited, you should fold all the other hands for the best result.

If you’re playing in the middle position and you get strong pocket pairs or even suited high card hands, you might consider to continue. But the majority of the time, it is still better to fold.

If you are in the late position, in some cases other hands which are not listed above could also be worth a try. However, if you only have a low pair or lower suited hand, and there are already players in the pot that have raised, we would recommend you to fold and play safe. Some players choose to take a risk, but most of them would still fold in the flop round and lose their chips in the end.

Not sure what are the early, middle, or late positions? Don't worry, check out our post here: LEARN THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITION IN POKER AND PLAY WITH BETTER STRATEGIES

To sum it up, the beauty of Texas Holdem is not only about its infinite possibilities but also about meticulous strategic thinking. Trying to train your thought process when it comes to folding cards could help you conserve your chips and turn profitable in the long run. All in all, enjoy the game and let the fun begin!

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