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Four-Bet Folding in NL Hold'em

Four-bet folding is one of the biggest mistakes a No Limit Hold'em player could ever make. A 4-bet fold is not only illogical, but it is also extremely costly. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a 4-bet fold is when there is a raise (2), re-raise (3), re-re-raise (4), a player shoves and then the other player folds. If you take a look at the number indicators, you will see that the (4th) bet is the player who ultimately ends up folding.

This player undoubtedly put a large amount of money into the pot between their initial raise and 4-bet of the re-raise. Unless the stack sizes were incredibly deep, there is almost no situation where it makes sense for the 4-bettor to fold.

Let’s assume that these players were in a moderately deep $2/$4 NLHE game with 150 big blinds each. This would set the stack sizes at right around $600. If the 4-bettor makes a standard open raise to $16, and then the other player re-raises to $55 or so, this would mean that a 4-bet would be somewhere close to $150 or more.

Now, this is assuming smaller raises, as the bet sizes could have easily eclipsed $200 by this point. As a result of all of this action, the 4-bettor is now left with a stack that hovers around $400. While $400 is a sizable amount, the price of calling a shove would equate to $400 to win $1200, meaning that the 4-bettor would still be breaking even in spots where they were behind 70/30.

Why You Need to Call

The only time this particular example would warrant a fold from the 4-bettor would be if they were sure that they were 75/25 or worse. Needless to say, this won’t be the case all that often. The most important thing to remember about this example is that the players were playing with some deeper stacks.

Many times there will be two or three players with somewhere between 80 and 100 big blinds. In these situations you will be lighting all of your money on fire when 4-bet folding, even if you happen to be a very big underdog. At a certain point in time you will have put too much money into the pot for it to be anywhere near logical to consider folding.

Avoiding 4-Bet Folds

4-bet folding is a major mistake but it can also be easily avoided. This is the difference between this mistake and the hundreds or thousands of others that poker players make on a regular basis. Always carefully think before you make any big move in poker, particularly a 4-bet.

Four-bets will almost always involve a sizable bet and will generally be indicative of a strong hand. If you are thinking about 4-bet bluffing, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place as this is a skill reserved almost exclusively for very skilled, high stakes poker players. Think about how you are going to react to either a call or shove when you decide to go ahead and make a 4-bet.

If you happen to force a fold when 4-betting, you can fist pump and be happy that the hand is over and the pot is yours; this is probably one of the easier skills to master. When someone calls your 4-bet, however, be prepared for a long and potentially difficult post flop scenario.

Our main concern in this article, though, is what to do when someone re-raises you. Most of the time a raise of a 4-bet will be enough to put one or both players all-in. Since we mentioned that you would need to be extremely deep to ever consider a 4-bet fold, you should be clicking the call button rather quickly. If you are not playing deep and have not called the shove immediately, you have already fallen into the trap of making a poor 4-bet. Always think in advance, and if your plan is not to call a 5-bet shove, don’t 4-bet in the first place.

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