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Poker Life: Nothing heroic about the ‘hero fold’

Fri, Jan 13, 8:21am by Poker Guru

Folding a big hand is sometimes called a “hero fold”. Folding a top pair would not qualify and not pocket kings pre-flop either—it should be a hand that very few players would fold.

There was an extreme example in WSOP Main Even last summer. Kyle Bowker folded quad sevens (!) on the river. Bowker raised pre-flop with pocket sevens, got three callers and the flop came King of Spades, 9 of Spades and a red 7. He bet the flop and got one caller. The turn was another red 7. He bet the turn and was called again. The river was the Jack of Spades and Bowker made a value but was raised. The hand was not filmed so I do not know how long he took but eventually he folded his quads because he was absolutely sure his opponent had rivered a straight flush with Q-10 of Spades. He even folded his sevens face up!

I have to admit I would not have been able to make that fold. Kyle Bowker won a WSOP bracelet in an Omaha event last summer so he is clearly a competent poker player. According to him his opponent did not show the hand but looked disgusted and later admitted he had actually had Q-10 of Spades. If that is true Bowker made an amazing fold.

Personally I suspect Bowker had played a little too much Omaha. In Omaha you see players holding the nuts all the time and when you switch back to Hold’em it is easy to start putting your opponents on the best possible hand a little too often.

Let us look at this situation in a little more detail. Up until the river the hand is pretty much self-playing. There is a flush draw and a few straight draws out there so you need to keep betting your set.  When you turn quads you could check to represent a weak hand but I like the bet. Then on the river you want your opponent to call and you are certainly not expecting a raise. A good player would not raise with just a flush on the river on a paired board so either he has a full house with pocket kings or nines, a straight flush with Q-10 of Spades, or some kind of bluff.  He would probably have reraised pre-flop with pocket kings so that hand is unlikely, and a bluff is also unlikely. With pocket nines in the range and a couple of unlikely hands you cannot justify a fold here. I was not there and sometimes you need to follow your instinct but my advice is not to make ‘hero folds’ too often. There is nothing heroic about them.


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