Fixed Limit: Fold your way to profit
After a few recent adventures in Fixed Limit poker (which is where most people who discovered poker during the early days of the global online explosion had their first experience), I think it’s worth mentioning the importance of folding as a key winning tool.
There is a danger in FL – especially at the lower limits, and even more so for those used to NL – to let the capped betting structure lull you into a false sense of value for money. The price to see more flops, turns and rivers seems so cheap compared to what we might have to pay in NL, so there is a tendency to take marginal and even poor hands further than perhaps we should (in NL, of course, the potential rewards in the shape of effectively ‘limitless’ pots can justify perseverance but, nevertheless, we should probably fold more in NL too).
So chasing long shots, or consciously paying to stay in the hunt with what is unlikely to be the best hand, is generally a poor strategy (this sounds so obvious when you read it out loud). Note that this problem is compounded in a short-handed game. This is why we see sensible players perform way over expectation at the lower levels, as they appreciate that much of the opposition is playing way too loosely – plus the fact that some see this particular format as simply a ‘cheap’ way to learn, have fun and possibly win money, too. There’s just no fun in folding hand after hand, apparently…
Folding is both a fundamental and essential part of good poker. But if we’re looking for fun with insufficient regard to the cost, then this option, which is the first we are given as soon as we see our hole cards, will be a party-pooping unwelcome one. Changing this mindset is imperative. If we follow any reasonable advice regarding starting hands, then folding pre-flop should be a regular ‘decision’ we should find ourselves making. The sooner we interpret folding as a necessary ‘sacrifice’ on the way to having entertainment (in the form of profit) with our stronger hands, the sooner we get used to playing better poker and, in turn, progress kicks in.
Good hands and good opportunities are inevitable and, in time, the combination of patient, improved play and the money saved by avoiding the cumulative losses caused by an indisciplined reluctance to fold poor hands will reap rewards.
Note that I am not advocating folding all but the very best starting hands, rather getting out of the habit of almost automatically limping in with almost anything which, unfortunately, can lead to more trouble on subsequent streets. Fold, follow the game to see who doesn’t, and have fun punishing them.
Good luck (folding) at the tables!
I mentioned a while ago that 32Red Poker now gives you more ways to use your Redbacks (RB). Remember that you earn Redbacks while you play, whether it’s on cash tables, in a sit & go tournament or scheduled multi-table tournaments. Quite simply, for every $1 you generate in rake or tournament fees, 32Red rewards you with 10 Redbacks and, as well as being able to use them for 32Red Poker’s multi-table tournament buy-ins, you can now play for ‘free’ in the Sit & Go section too (watch out for ‘RB’ next to the buy-in info).
I recommend the exciting world of Heads-Up tournaments. In fact there’s such a good selection on offer it’s worth taking the time to see which particular format suits you best. For example you can choose from a simple €5+0.50 HU match-up – which will cost you around 750 Redbacks – to win the €10 prize, start another one, and so on, or for the same RB750 outlay enter a 4-player HU winner-take-all tournament, win the same two matches and instead pocket €20 for 1st place. And if this challenge seems doable, then there are 8-player HU tournaments with a 70%-30% split for the two finalists. This means that winning the first two matches guarantees you a minimum payout of €12, and a €28 return for your RB750 if you win the final! Note that buy-ins go up to €10+1, while 8-player tournaments are available for €1+0.20/RB163 and you can play 1-on-1 HU for as little as $0.10+0.01 or 11 Redbacks!
As well as deciding between the number of players you must also choose between so-called Normal, Super-Turbo and Extreme formats. These are quite different in terms of blind levels and thinking time, so it is important that you find what’s right for your game. Normal HU means 8-minute blind levels, 25 seconds response time and a 60 second time bank, while in a Super Turbo you get 5 minutes, 20 seconds and 45 seconds respectively. Extreme lives up to its name with 2-minute blinds, only 15 seconds to make your decision and a 30-second time bank – considering that (with starting stacks of 1500 chips) in this case after 10 minutes the blinds will already be up to 100/200 whereas in the Normal format you’d be only a quarter way through the 15/30 level, the conditions can be drastically different.
Whichever you play in, remember that in these tournaments it is imperative you adhere to the age-old sporting golden rule of taking the matches one at a time. And remember, too, that it’s great fun!
Good luck at the tables!