Folding Kings

Folding Kings

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Folding Kings
Dear Dr Tom,

Dan Harrington says it’s crazy to pass kings pre-flop in a tournament, yet great players can do it. What are you thoughts on the matter?

Paul, Greenford

Dear Paul,

My thoughts are: “TWO HOURS I’VE WAITED FOR THIS *$%$NG HAND AND NOW I’M SUPPOSED TO PASS IT? AARGGGGGGGH! I HATE THIS *$*^**NG GAME! But you would never guess this from my stony poker face as I tear up my cards and burst into tears.

In a two-handed pot it’s rarely right to pass no matter how deep you are – perhaps very early on in a hefty championship event against someone who looks like they’re out of their depth and terrified of being knocked out early, but has moved all in anyway. Otherwise there is just too much risk that someone has shoved with A-K to simplify things. Or has shoved with Q-Q for the same reason.

In multi-way pots you can get a lot of information before you commit money. If a rock four-bets all in that’s a bad sign, especially if the three-bettor was also a rock and the four-bettor knows it. But it also helps a lot to know how the all-inner regards A-K. People have wildly different views on this hand in deep tourneys. If you have previously seen all-in man pass it face up against lightish betting now you can be relatively sure he holds A-A or Q-Q making you 50:50 at best. The possibility that an initial raiser has A-A now makes this a fold unless a sizeable slice of your stack has already gone in. If you fold and four people go to a showdown with A-x, do remember that the world is a beautiful place and we’re privileged to be alive.

Dr Tom

Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy,