Raise folding

One of the most powerful tools of a world class no limit player is the raise-fold for value. Raise-folding refers to rai...

Posted Jun 20, 2012


Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

One of the most powerful tools of a world class no limit player is the raise-fold for value. Raise-folding refers to raising with what one thinks is the best hand but then folding when getting reraised. The reraise, especially on the river, is such a strong play by your opponent that you can almost always surmise that your hand is no good.

Most players will not make this play because they have trouble laying down good hands. They do not want to open the betting back up and be faced with a tough decision. What these players do not realize is that the mere fact that their opponent has reraised the river usually means that he has a nut hand. The frequency of someone ever making a play as a bluff after getting raised on the river is basically zero.

Second nut hands are usually great spots to make big raise-folds. Let's look at an example.

In a $2-$5 no limit game with $1500 effective stacks we open in the cutoff to $20 with K Q. Everyone folds to the big blind who calls. The flop comes out big for us K 5 2. Our opponent checks and we bet $30, he calls. Turn is a 9. Our opponent checks, we bet $70 and he calls again. The river is the 7. Our opponent bets out $150.

Clearly the big blind is representing a flush. He called two big bets on the flop and turn and is now betting large when the draw has hit. What should we do?A lot of non-sophisticated opponents would only call fearing the ace high flush. They do not realize that they lose an incredible amount of value from smaller flushes by not raising. We should probably make it about $550 total and then if our opponent ships all in we can almost positively say that he has the nut flush and fold even getting over 2-1. You should also notice that we hold the third nut flush blocker with the Q so it is unlikely that our opponent is overplaying a smaller flush. Of course, at the lower levels, you have to be aware of inexperienced players overvaluing their hands. 

Raise-folding for value is one of the intricacies of playing a deep stack well. In smaller capped games usually you will not have the maneuverability to raise and then fold to a reraise so you have to evaluate if you think that it is profitable to raise over the top of a bet knowing that you will not be able to later release.

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