Breakeven Fold Equity

EDIT: It has come to my attention that I defined “break even” incorrectly. Instead of defining it to be 0 EV, it should actually be defined as our EV if we go to showdown. This is because we need to compare the two best lines (checking vs betting) and see which one is better (ignoring getting raised off hands and having to c/f to a bluff). I will correct the chart soon.

This summer I did a little analysis of required fold equity (FE). I had high hopes for the project, but nothing great came of it. What did come out of it, however, was a chart that might be of use to you guys. It’s not what I wanted to release, but I don’t really have the time to do more meaningful analysis atm.

Required Fold Percentage

The chart assumes the pot is unopened when you’re to act (either you’re first in or it’s checked to you). So, for example, if you’re thinking of raising with FE this chart wouldn’t be accurate and you’d need a little more fold equity. It also assumes your opponet will either call or fold and there won’t be any further action after. If your hand has implied odds (ie, you’re drawing to best hand) then you stand to win a little when you hit and so can have a bit less FE. But, keep in mind your opponent can potentially raise and possibly deny you the win%. If you have reverse implied odds (ie, much of your win % includes making a pair that could give someone 2-pr) and you stand to potentially lose a little if you make your hand, you want a bit more FE.

Also, situations with more than one opponent get trickier and I wouldn’t use this chart for that. For example, if each opponent will fold 40% of the time, your FE is only 16% (you want both to fold, so .4*.4). So technically here you’d have to find the square root of the fold percentage and that’ll give you the required average FE of each opponent, but even then the implied odds get messy.

Nevertheless, this chart made clear to me that what I considered required fold equity was way too conservative. For example: betting 2/3 of the pot with just 10% to win drops the required fold equity from 40% to 30%, which is a 25% decrease.

I thought it was pretty cool how small sources of equity can combine to make for an unexpectedly profitable situation. My goal as a poker player was to identify hidden sources of equity, but it was cut short when I decided to pursue math and school.

Related post: Required Fold Equity equation


One Response

  1. This is awesome Alex. I really appreciate you posting this and it’ll genuinely help my game. I can’t believe I’ve not looked at this stuff before now. I need to be semibluffing waaaayyy more!!!

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