I use many tools when analyzing poker hands away from the table…but one of my favorite tools is the fold equity calculator. This tool only requires a few simple inputs to give me information about how often my opponent needs to fold in order for me to run a bluff. This is super helpful when going all-in preflop, semi-bluffing draws postflop, and increasing your overall aggression. This free video will show you what fold equity is, what a fold equity calculator is, and how to use this tool on your own. As always, if you are a reader make sure to check out the script below. Enjoy!
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Hello, and welcome to today’s Quick Plays video on using a fold equity calculator. There are so many different poker tools available, but this is one tool that I use quite often. In this video I’ll show you what a fold equity calculator is, how it’s useful, and show you how to use it with some examples!
Let’s first understand what fold equity is. Fold equity is essentially what we gain the times our opponent folds. If we take a spot where we shove a draw we can win the pot one of two ways: either our opponent calls and we hit our draw sometimes…or our opponent folds. The more often our opponent folds against our aggression the more times we win the pot uncontested which is a very profitable thing when bluffing or semi-bluffing.
A fold equity calculator then looks at how often our opponent needs to fold in order for our aggressive actions to be +EV. In this video we are going to look at the fold equity calculator found on FPPPro.com, but there are many like it on the Internet.
This fold equity calculator needs 4 pieces of information before it can work:
1. The effective stack, or how much you are shoving
2. Your estimated equity when villain calls your shove
3. The current pot size
4. How big of a bet you are facing if applicable
Let’s look at an example to see how this all works…
In this hand it folds around, the button opens to $3, and we 3bet from the small blind with A♠K♠ to $11. Just the button calls and we see a heads up flop of Q♥ J♠ 4♣. Hero decides to put the button all-in for $20 with just overs and a gutshot.
We can use the fold equity calculator to proof the validity of this shove. We know we are making an effective shove of $20, so we can fill that in. The current pot size is $23 before we make the shove. And we aren’t facing any bets, so we can enter 0 in the “facing bet” box.
The last bit of information that we need is the estimated equity which we can figure out using a free program like Equilab. If you don’t know how to use Equilab, please watch our other Quick Plays video showing you how to use the software!
Remember, this is the equity we expect to have when our shove gets called. If we thought he would call our preflop 3bet with 99 but fold it against our shove, we don’t include it in this calculation. For simplicity’s sake let’s say the button has and would call our shove with JJ+, AQ, and AJ. We have 27% equity when he calls and we can plug it in and calculate.
The fold equity calculator is telling us that we need villain to fold at least 12% of the time. What this means is this: if villain folds less than 12% of the time we are making a -EV shove. If villain folds exactly 12% of the time this is a breakeven shove. And if villain folds more than 12% of the time this is a +EV shove…and of course the more he folds the more profitable this shove is.
We can also use a fold equity calculator to proof a hand like this:
In this hand MP opens, we 3bet from the CO to $11 with KTs and MP calls. The flop comes Q86 giving us a flush draw, we continuation bet for $14 and face a check/raise to $32. We can proof the value of a semi-bluff shove by just plugging in some numbers:
Our shove would be for $105 total, the pot is $69.5 before we shove, and we are facing a bet of $16 (since his $32 check/raise is $16 more than our $14 continuation bet). If we assume he would only check/raise AND call our shove with sets and KK+, we will have 32% equity when called.
With everything plugged in we see that we need 23% folds to breakeven. It’s at this point that you may be wondering “how can I guess that villain will fold at least 23% of the time?”. That’s a fair question. The way I visualize it is this:
We thought his stack off range was sets and KK+, this is 18 combos. If we times 18 by 1.23, or increase it by 23% which was the necessary number of folds we’d need, then we get 22. So if his check/raise range has at least 22 combinations of hands, and he’d stack off the same 18 combos, we can expect enough folds. Knowing how to turn a raw percentage into real combinations of hands is an advanced skill that can really help your game!
In this hand we shove and our opponent calls with 88. We knew this was a possibility and him calling our shove doesn’t necessarily mean that we made a mistake. This was factored into the original valuation of the shove when we considered our equity the times villain did in fact call. So long as we thought villain would fold more than 23% of the time once we shoved, the play was +EV. The times he does call we at least have some equity and we can always run good and improve some percentage of the time!
This is how we use a fold equity calculator. We plug in some simple numbers, estimate our equity against the range villain would call our shove with, and make sure villain would actually fold often enough. This is all work you want to do away from the table so that it becomes more ingrained and you begin to understand that “as I risk X amount of money with Y amount of equity I need Z number of folds”. The more you practice with it and analyze previously played hands, the better your semi-bluffing game will be!
Same as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to let me know…otherwise good luck and happy grinding!