What Hands to Fold in Poker (2020)

Introduction to Folding

Knowing what hands to fold in poker doesn’t come easy to most players. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably concerned that you play too many hands, call too many raises speculatively or on the contrary, play too tight and need some guidance. We can’t all play like Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan and expect play a wide range of hands profitably. This article will give a basic guide on what hands to fold in poker.

Playing Situations, not Just Cards

Before I get into the hand groups you should be folding. Let me preface it by saying that, as your experience, table awareness and proficiency in Texas Hold’em develops, you will look for profitable situations instead of just playing solid poker hands. This is something I always tell players I mentor. But this article is designed to help those of you who are having difficulty with pre flop hand selection and want some general advice on what hands to fold in poker.

Ace Rag

Ace rag is almost definitely the most overplayed and overrated hand in Texas Holdem. Even professionals will occasionally overplay the ace if they’ve been dealt junk for hours. The truth is, unless you are in position or shorthanded, these hands are unlikely to make you any money or help build your stack much.

They don’t play particularly well post flop and you are unlikely to extract 3 streets of value if you make top pair. Sometimes when you think you will, you end up finding yourself beat by a bigger kicker.

Low Paint Cards

This may surprise you but the Queen Jack and King Jack hands are not as powerful as you think. Granted, you have two paint cards and have the opportunity to make straights. But, if you are calling raises with these hands, particularly against early position open raises, you are going to find yourself outkicked or against a higher pair.

If a strong player is opening from under the gun and you are tempted to play Queen Jack from the small blind, think again. The range of hands you are likely to be up against have Queen Jack in bad shape.

To make this clearer, if you are against an Ace Jack, Ace Queen or King Queen, you are approx. 25% to win the hand in a showdown. Let’s also not forget you do not have the pre flop lead.

what hands to fold in poker
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Low Connectors

Hands like 4-5, 6-7 and 3-4 are hands to fold in poker. I make a distinction from suited as they play much better. The offsuit low connectors are unlikely to help your ROI. You may have seen some professionals call raises on High Stakes Poker with these hands. That doesn’t mean they were right to and it doesn’t mean you should. Unless you make a hand stronger than one pair, you are unlikely to feel secure with low connectors so just throw them away.

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