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When To Hold and When To Fold

Texas Hold’em is an extremely popular game during poker tournaments, casino nights and home poker parties. Hold’em may be the name, but there are plenty of times when you should fold’em.

Several variables contribute to deciding whether you should hold or fold. Pot odds, hand strength, the number of players and their positions at the table can determine which judgment is best. Below are some quick tips for when to hold and when to fold during a game of Texas Hold'em.

Always Hold onto Pre-Flop Pairs of Seven or Higher

A pre-flop hand (hole cards) with pairs of seven or higher is a strong starting hand. It’s always best to hold rather than fold when you’re dealt a high pair.

Hold Suited Hole Cards of Nine or Higher

When your hole cards are both nine or higher and the same suit, hold onto them. These are considered strong hole cards that could lead to a straight.

Fold UnSuited, Non-Face Hole Cards

Hole cards that are below a face card and unsuited have a very slim chance of producing a win. You're better off folding, especially if someone goes big with a bet. If the cards are more than five numbers apart, folding is recommended because there’s no way to make a straight.

Always Fold Start Hands With a Six or Less That Isn’t Paired or Ace Suited

Low numbers aren’t the hole cards you want to see. The only saving grace is a pair or a suited Ace. Even then, the odds of winning aren’t great.

Only Hold Very Strong Start Hands When You’re in an Early Position

Early positions are at a disadvantage because you don’t know how the other players are going to act. To improve your odds of winning, only hold very strong start hands from an early position. Strong hands include ace, king and queen pairs as well as suited aces, kings and queens.

Hold When You’re the First Up on the Post-Flop Bet

You may remember from our past post on Texas Hold’em playing tips that you should never fold when you’re the first up on the post-flop bet. Even if you don’t have a great hand you can check and get a chance to see what everyone else does.

Always Hold If You Can Check

As noted above, when you’re able to check and don’t have to put more in the pot...hold your cards. This is particularly sound advice if you’ve already contributed a substantial amount to the pot.

Hold on the River Unless There’s a Raise and You Have No Chance of Winning

If you’re still in it by the time you get to the river, it’s usually best to hold. However, if the last card didn’t play in your favor, there’s no chance of putting together a hand, and another player raises, there’s no reason to throw more of your money into the pot.

Fold When You Have a Marginal Hand and Another Player Raises

You have to decide how much you want to pay to see the additional cards. If your hand is average and another player raises, it’s a good time to fold. This is an even more sound decision when the raise happens with other players still left to act, or the player who raised did so in other betting rounds.

Best of luck!

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