Giving Up and Turning Points

Giving up isn’t a phrase that is often associated with
poker, but winning players realize that sometimes a pot reaches
a point at which it is no longer worth fighting for. As much as
aggressive play is taught, especially today, there’s a lot to
be said about the ability to slow down. If you are facing a
player who you have pinned as tight and/or
passive, but cannot seem to get them to fold in a particular
hand, it will only make sense to give up and save yourself some

The problem that many players have is that they just
don’t want to come to the realization that they are not going to
win a hand. You won’t win every hand, so you need to make the
most out of the ones that you can and lose the least when you

The crucial thing to remember in all of this is that you
shouldn’t be giving up before you even get started. For
instance, a simple raise ahead of you doesn’t mean that you
should be running away in fear. It’s those spots where only
further aggression can win a pot, but is unlikely to actually
work, that need to be avoided at all costs. In other words,
proper aggression is a matter of picking your spots as
effectively as possible. For example, giving up calls for moving on
when the situation just isn’t right.

Giving Up Pre-Flop

Pre-flop is the easiest time to give up when you look at it
from a practicality standpoint. You’ll have the least money
invested, you won’t be forced to continue on, and you won’t be very attached to your hand. The problem that comes
along with pre-flop play is that there’s always the opportunity
of the unknown. One of the most interesting and intriguing
elements of poker is that even the worst starting hand can turn
into the absolute nuts by the time that the river is dealt.
These types of possibilities are what allows for weak players to
become way too involved with hands that really aren’t that

There are many different spots where you should be looking to
dump your hand pre-flop, but they aren’t as clear cut as you
might hope. The ultimate goal of any move with any hand should
be to determine the actual risk and reward that’s involved. If
you are facing a 3-bet with AK and are out of position against a
tight player, you may be in a rare spot where AK should be folded.

Is it smart to fold AK to any 3-bet? No, of course not. Is it even
smart to fold AK against a tight player? Not really. The
difference lies in the fact that there’s both a raise, a
re-raise, you are out of position, and the tightest player at
the table is showing resistance. A weak player would look at
this and say that they need to call and see a flop, but a smart
player will have the discipline to simply give it up and move on

Post-Flop Turning Points

Post-flop is where you’ll find yourself in a lot more
trickier situations where you are more attached to your hand.
Once you have approached the post-flop stages of the game, you’ll have now invested a significant amount of time, money, and
effort into the hand-three things that most players aren’t
going to be all too keen on sacrificing. This is both where you’ll have a chance to make money and lose money. Weak players
call off a check raise on the river when they know they are
beat, but strong players have the discipline to throw their hand
away, even if it’s just $50 more into a $250 pot.

Many poker players are suckered in to what I like to call the
“bluff vortex.” The bluff vortex is created when a player
initially raises and plans on making a continuation bet and then
giving up, but instead ends up firing out again on the turn and
the river as well. Every player will find themselves in these
types of situations, and it’s more than understandable. At
first you feel like you won’t want to continue with the pot
if you face strong resistance and don’t have a strong hand, but
then you’ll start to realize how much money is at stake and
that you have a chance at taking down the pot. It’s the
temptation of the money in the middle that is enough to throw
just about anyone off of their game.

Continuing with the bluff vortex, it’s usually the turn or
increased flop action that lands the bulk of players in hot
water. Though it’s hardly always the case, big bets will most
often start to develop on the turn. Where the flop is largely a
ground used to figure out where opponents stand, it’s the turn
that is used as a mechanism to get all of the money in the
middle or to scare off the other player, depending on whether
you are strong or weak. Because of this, the turn needs to be
where you really place the most emphasis in just about every
hand. Regardless of whether you are looking to extract value or
contemplating if it makes sense to fold, the turn will often
times be the turning point.

Also keep in mind that just
about any decision made on the turn is going to have a direct
effect on what happens when the river is dealt. If you have a
huge hand and want to stack your opponent, you should be looking
to get as much money as possible in the middle while also
leaving room for a reasonable river bet. Likewise, a weak hand
should be looking to see the river as cheaply as possible. The
important thing to remember is that the turn is the point in
time where you need to make your decision. Instead of putting
yourself in a very difficult spot on the river, sometimes it
will be best to simply get out of the way while you still can.