Folding in poker basically means forfeiting a hand. When players believe they can’t match a previous bet or are not confident about their chances, they can fold their hand by laying down their cards. A player who has folded a hand will take no further part in the hand. He/she will also be unable to win the pot. So, what happens if everyone folds? I’ve had a few people ask me this question before. If you’re one of such curious minds, read further to find out.
What happens if everyone folds in poker? Players usually fold when they can’t match a bet or when they feel they don’t have a good enough hand to play with. The rules state that you can’t fold until a bet has been made. If everyone folds to a bet, the player who made the bet automatically wins the hand.
Depending on the kind of situation you are in, folding can be a good move or a wrong move.
That said, you shouldn’t be too rigid with your strategy. Players who fold too much and players who don’t fold at all are generally seen as inexperienced.
Folding in Poker
When players can’t match previous bets, their only option is to fold. While folding means you’re giving up the pot and your previous bets in that hand, it also means you don’t have to lose any more money. Although players may also fold when they have a weak hand, the scenario that sees everyone folding a hand is likely to arise from a big raise.
If a player has made a bet(raise) and others can’t match it, they fold their hands and lose the pot to the player who made a bet. This strategy is common amongst players who try to steal the blinds preflop. With a raise in position, they can put pressure on players who are out of position and often pick up the blinds unchallenged with everyone else folding.
To be clear, this means that it’s impossible for every player in a table to fold their hands. As earlier stated, you can only fold when a bet has been made. This means there’ll always be a player who doesn’t need to fold.
If it gets folded to the last person to act, then that person wins the pot, without him doing any action.
Why do Players Fold?
Everyone folds in poker. In fact, you’re more likely to fold than make a bet. Yet, many poker pros advise players always to play aggressively. If playing aggressively is the right way to go, why then do players fold bets?
- Weak Hands: Everyone has a range of starting hands they’re willing to play. If they’re dealt a weak hand, folding is usually the best choice. While it’s not an aggressive play, folding means you get to keep your bet for a more profitable hand.
A player who is willing to play every starting hand is likely to lose often.
Folding your weak hand means you get to limit how much you lose. If you only play strong hands and fold weak hands, you have a higher chance of winning in poker.
- Large Bets: Another reason players fold is when they’re facing a significant raise. Once poker players see the flop, their next decision is to decide if the hand is worth chasing.
In a scenario where a player faces a raise and a re-raise before they act their turn, they must decide if their hand is strong enough to call or raise with. Most times, it’s better to fold than chase the hand till the end, and this is precisely what many players do.
Is Folding a Good Strategy?
If you want to win big, playing aggressively is a no brainer. However, there are scenarios where you need to cut your losses, and this is where folding becomes extremely important. To begin with, folding weak starting hands preflop is a good strategy that can save you from avoidable losses.
It’s of extreme importance to play a correct range of hands in each position, to avoid the hard spots.
A close fold preflop can become very costly call on the turn or river if we don’t fold our hand preflop when we should have.
One such example is opening A5 when you should have folded it. By the river, you hit two pairs (top and bottom) and are faced with a huge bet. You make the call and the opponent shows you a set or higher two pairs. This situation could have easily been avoided by you making a correct decision and folding preflop.
While it’s good to have a wide range and keep opponents guessing what you have all the time, players who play too many starting hands will run into a lot of tricky post-flop problems. As you may have heard, preflop mistakes mean you’re building on a shaky foundation. Hence, the need to make the right decision on your starting hands.
Your opponent’s tendencies and how best to exploit them should be the only reason to deviate from your standard starting hand chart.
Also, if you’re a newbie playing amongst pros, the most sensible thing to do is play tightly. Folding weak and marginal hands will significantly reduce your chances of losing.
So, while folding is not the most positive play, it’s a great way to mitigate your losses.
In poker, there are three categories of players:
- There are the players who fold too often
- There are the players who don’t fold as often as they should
- There are players who fold correctly
While folding has its merits, if you fold too often, you’ll find yourself in a category of players who are easily targeted by pros. In online poker games, pros can easily see from who folds too often by looking at their HUD statistics.
When you fold frequently, you give off the impression that you’re easy to bluff and fold under pressure. Always be sure to mix up your game for the sake of your image. Try to find a balance between folding often and not folding at all.
If you’re playing in a tournament, determine the scenarios where you should fold and where you should not. Usually, you’re faced with situations where you’re favorite to win and cases where all you have is a positive expectation.
Imagine that you’ve got two pairs of 4’s and 7’s on the turn while up against an opponent who has a flush draw. In this situation, your opponent will have a 19.57% chance of coming out on top while you’re the overwhelming favorite to win the hand with an 80% chance. This is a scenario where you’re a clear favorite, and you should never fold.
Now consider a scenario that you are preflop in the early stages of a tournament. You hold pocket Queens and opponent shows you Ace-King and goes allin. You are ahead, check my article about how much ahead are you – it is not a flip!
You only invested 3big blinds and have 97 big blinds behind. This is a scenario where you should actually fold! It is not worth risking your tournament life at this point (especially if you are up against such players that are willing to get it in light and gamble), rather wait that blinds go up, and your SPR is lower, or that you have a hand where you have bigger equity advantage.
This is one of those positive expected value scenarios where you are clearly the favorite. Although calling makes you profit longterm, you’re better off preserving your chips for situations where your chances are better.
All I have said so far is that the rules of poker don’t allow everyone on the table to fold since a bet has to be made first. If there’s a bet on the table, the player who made this bet will automatically win the pot if his/her opponents fold. or if you are last to act and it is folded to you, then you also win the pot, and there isn’t any need to take any action by you. Always remember to fold only when you have to.
As a beginner poker player, the odds are that you’re going to fold a lot of hands as you’re still developing your game. But once you get the hang of it and improve your range of starting hands, you should look to play more aggressively. Lastly, if the scenario is not favorable, a fold wouldn’t be a bad idea, but if it is, you should be more inclined to play aggressively rather than folding.
Can the blinds fold preflop? Yes, the blinds can fold preflop if they’re priced out of the hand. When the blinds are posted, a player has to call or raise the bet, otherwise, the big blind is unchallenged. If no bet was made then the big blind ‘gets a walk’ in poker terms. This is a dream scenario for every big blind.
Can you show your cards to opponents when you fold? No, it is illegal to show your opponents your card when you fold as it gives them an unfair advantage against other players. In a situation where an opponent sees your folded cards, another player can request to see it as well.