Fold Equity

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What is Fold Equity?

Fold equity is used to calculate the likelihood of folding someone off a pot when you raise.  It can be expressed as either a percentage or a decimal point.

For example let’s say we have QJ and our opponent has AK on a QQA board.  Our opponent raises out of position and we re-raise him double his initial raise.  Depending on the tightness and style of the player we could say there is a 20% chance that he will fold to our raise.

In this situation we have estimated that our opponent’s fold equity is 20% or 0.2.  However there is more we can do with this figure:

Using Fold Equity in Our Pot Equity Calculations:

You should already understand that “equity” in poker is basically just our chances of winning the chips in the pot – this is the same as our probability of winning.

In the example above with QJ on a QQA board we have just over 91% equity of the pot and our opponent has the remaining 9%.  These figures are calculated using a simple texas holdem poker calculator.

When we take into account folding equity however this figure changes.  Because we have now raised the pot and there is a 20% chance our opponent will fold, his chances of winning the pot have been reduced. 

Therefore:

Total Equity = (Fold Equity x Current Equity)

After our raise our opponent’s equity is now reduced to (0.05×0.2) = 1%  This means our opponent’s pot equity is now 1% and our equity has increased to 99%.  This figures means that we will win this pot from this point onwards around 99 times out of a 100.

Problems Using Fold Equity

The biggest problem with fold equity is that it’s a hypothetical figure which we have estimate for ourselves.  We need an extremely good understanding of our opponent’s post-flop range of hands and the likelihood of him calling to make this figure reliable.  Against a really loose opponent his fold equity might be only 10%, and against a tight opponent it could even be 30% – thus our calculation is just an estimate.

In conclusion, using fold equity to calculate pot equity above isn’t all that important. Fold equity is only really used as a “phrase” nowadays and it doesn’t need to be plugged into complex calcultions like above.  I only used the information above as an example of how fold equity “can” be used in the mathematics of poker.

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