Looking at Fold Equity

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There is no doubt that the modern game dynamics of online poker have changed. For many years the game of poker was happy and content to keep plodding along and it never really changed. The introduction of the World Series of Poker in 1970 started something but even then it was just something that happened a long way away for most people. Even when Doyle Brunson changed the way that people thought about NLHE when he wrote SuperSystem, this was still a book that the majority of the world new nothing about.

It was true that poker in 1990 wasn’t that much more popular than what it was in 1970 but the next decade saw a rapid acceleration and by the end of that decade we had seen under the table cameras for the first time and wide spread usage of the internet. The arrival of TV series like Late Night Poker and online poker kick started the poker boom and then the years 2000-2005 saw massive growth in the industry. It was during this time that many players made an awful lot of money from poker.

 

In 2006 we had the UIGEA and online poker largely lost the US market. The games changed over the next few years and became tighter and tougher. The average pot sizes were falling and the number of players seeing the flop was also falling. This also coincided with the arrival of tracking software, coaching sites and short stack strategies. The average online game was much tougher than the average live game at the same stakes.

Live players have different skills to online players but we are talking about earning potential here. So when games became tougher and tighter then this shift in game dynamic required a shift in strategy. Players were no longer seeing the showdown in the same frequency or seeing the flop in the same frequency. More and more players were multi-tabling and folding a large part of their range unlike before.

So the natural knock on was that fold equity and winning pots without a showdown was becoming more and more important. So fold equity and winning non-showdown pots is really where it is at these days. However Doyle Brunson taught us this years ago in his book. He mentioned how when all of the chips went into the middle he would often have the worst hand. This means that we was semi-bluffing an awful lot and semi-bluffs are chasing fold equity.

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