When people are taught how to play poker they will usually be told the general rules such as betting, hand rankings, pot odds and dealing but the greatest skill required when playing poker, whether playing online poker or a live poker game, is knowing when to lay your cards down and walk away from a pot, even a pot with a chunk of your cash in it!
All too often new poker players can be seen chasing pots, even when they know in their heart of hearts that they’re about to get beaten by a bigger hand. Sometimes the new poker player simply cannot put down a hand that started out as a monster but now looks vulnerable. Add to this the new player’s inability to read their opponent’s betting patterns and the newbie could find their bankroll management strategies going out of the window , all because they couldn’t lay their cards down.
Pride can often cause a player to stay in a hand that they should have folded. After having your A,K taken down in the previous hand by A,3 – courtesy of a K,3,3 flop – it’s all too easy to chase your losses and tough it out next hand with something like K,6, just to show that guy! (Oh, and fill his pockets too)
So how do you know when to lay your cards down? There are numerous ways, each depending on whether you’re playing live or online poker. First and foremost you need to study and remember the odds of poker, what the likelihood is that your opponent has a bigger hand than you or the likelihood that you’re going to hit the card you need. Unless you’re an experienced player you should only ever play the cards and the numbers. Don’t try and psycho-analyse your opponent, otherwise you could end up playing cards that you shouldn’t.
So if there’s one skill that a successful poker player must master it’s the art of knowing when to lay your cards down, and we would advise that all losing poker players study this art as a matter of importance.