Understand what fold equity is and how it can make your game more profitableFold equity to an extent is an educated guess but it's something that you can get better at the more you understand hand reading and board textures. To understand what is meant by this term, you can win the pot with the best hand at showdown, or you can win it immediately by having your opponent fold. Fold equity refers to your chances of causing your opponent to fold.
Getting your opponents to fold when you have no handSometimes you can use just fold equity alone to cause your opponents to fold a hand even when you have absolutely nothing. As a beginner I wouldn't go out of my way to try and win too many hands as stone cold bluffs but let's look at an example of a common situation where we can use our fold equity to win a pot with the aid of hand reading.
Fold Equity ExampleLet's imagine you're in a heads up pot and this is the hand you're dealt. You raise pre flop to $60 with You orpponent decides to flat call your raise and the the flop comes down: There is $120 in the pot and your opponent checks to you. You make a continuation bet of $80 and your opponent flat calls.
A little hand readingSo let's look at this flop and firstly start to ask ourselves, does our opponent look strong or weak? The flop is a little wet so we would expect our opponent to raise if he had a strong hand as me may fear some of the draws coming in on the turn or river. So when he flat calls, what kind of hand could he be doing that with if not a strong one? He could have some pairs like 55,66,77,99. He could of paired up on the flop with hands like 68s(suited), 78, 89, A8, T9, maybe JT (I assume stronger tens would raise that flop). He could also have some flush and straight draw hands such as 79s, J9, flush draws and maybe over cards with a gut shot such as QJ. When he just flat calls, then these hands make sense based on his actions and that is how you start developing your hand reading skills. On the turn On the turn our opponent checks to us again and now (other than exactly QJ or J9) the range of hands that we put our opponent on has got even weaker. We still have no hand and we haven't picked up any additional equity (outs) so if we want to win this pot then all we have to rely on is our fold equity. Taking all of these things into consideration, this is a great spot on the turn to bet again as a bluff. Not just because it's the only way that we can win the hand but also due to the fact that a hand like third pair is going to have a very hard time calling.
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If you get called again (To fire the third barrel?) If by chance your opponent does call the turn bet then you have to asses the river card to decide if it's a good spot to try and get a fold? This river is a great situation as it hasn't completed any straight or flush draws that he may of called on the flop with plus it's going to apply a lot of pressure to even a weak top pair (on the flop like 9T). There are of course many other situations where you will factor in fold equity into your game plan. A semi bluff is a play that you need to expect your opponent to fold a certain percentage of the time in order for the play to be profitable. As always you want to think about the board textures and how you think it realistically connects with his likely range of hands before just mindlessly making plays.