Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Raise or Fold versus Fold or Raise

Read any good modern poker book and you will undoubtedly come across advice that says you should rarely if ever cold call. The standard advice is to Raise or Fold. Don't Call.

Is this good advice? Answer: No and Yes, in that order. Let's start with the "Yes" part of the answer first, which deals with cold calling.

Cold calling is generally a bad thing in cash games. My game took a serious step forward a year or so ago when I began embracing the concept of eschewing the flat call. Let's say I've got fives in the big blind and a late position player open raises. In times past, I would nearly always call with this hand, but now--if I'm going to play the fives--I'm going to almost always raise. I am not cold calling with fives in this situation unless I have real, honest to God, I-am-more-likely-to-get-paid-off-than-not-if-I-hit-my-set, implied odds. Otherwise, if I'm going to play it, I'm going to add fold equity to my chance of winning by 3betting. I'm not going to flat.

Ah, but the caveat here are my words "if I'm going to play it." Which brings us to the "No" part of the original answer. Raise or Fold is wrong-way-'round advice, me thinks.

Said another way, (literally) the correct advice, in my humble opinion, should be Fold or Raise, not Raise or Fold.

For the average TAg player, your first inclination in a cash game should be to Fold. With those fives in the blinds against a late position raiser, you probably should just muck and move on. You'll be OOP throughout the hand, and the late position opener almost certainly does not have a hand that will pay you off; i.e., the implied odds are just not there to set mine. So fold.

If for some reason you decide that folding is not correct, your next default response should be to Raise. Why call when you can add fold equity to the mix with a 3bet? In other words, the hierarchy of your default thinking at a cash table should be, in order:

Fold? -- > Raise? -- >Call? -- >Fold.

All-in for now...

1 comment:

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