Fold equity is a concept in poker that refers to the potential profit a player can expect to gain by forcing their opponents to fold. In other words, fold equity is the value a player can expect to generate by betting or raising when they are not necessarily in the best hand, but their opponents are likely to fold, allowing the player to take down the pot without a showdown.
Fold equity is an important concept to understand in poker because it can be a major source of profit for a player. For example, let's say a player is holding a hand like 7-6 offsuit on a flop of A-K-2. They may not have the best hand, but if they can get their opponents to fold, they will still win the pot. By understanding fold equity, a player can make profitable plays that may not seem intuitive at first glance.
To calculate fold equity, a player must first consider the likelihood that their opponents will fold. This will depend on factors such as the strength of their hand, the position of the player, and the betting action that has occurred in the hand. The player also needs to consider the size of the pot and the amount they are betting, as well as the size of the effective stack, which is the amount of money that a player has left in front of them and could potentially put into the pot.
Once a player has determined the likelihood of their opponents folding, they can calculate the expected value of their bet. This is done by multiplying the size of the pot by the percentage chance that the opponents will fold. For example, if the pot is $100 and the player thinks their opponents will fold 50% of the time, their expected value from the bet is $50.
It's important to note that fold equity is not always present in every hand. In some situations, the player may not be able to get their opponents to fold, and in these cases, they should not be trying to use fold equity to generate profit. Instead, they should focus on building the best hand possible and winning the pot through traditional means.
It's also important to note that fold equity can be a double-edged sword. If a player is always trying to use fold equity and never showing down a hand, their opponents may start to catch on and adjust their play accordingly. It's important for a player to balance their use of fold equity with traditional poker strategy in order to be successful in the long run.
In summary, fold equity is a powerful tool in a poker player's arsenal. By understanding the concept of fold equity and how to calculate it, a player can make profitable plays that may not seem intuitive at first glance. However, it's important for a player to balance their use of fold equity with traditional poker strategy and not rely on it too heavily. By understanding when to use fold equity and when to play traditional poker, a player can increase their chances of success at the table.