A straight is good to have; a flush is excellent. But having a straight flush is incredible. But what if we asked you if one should fold or hold if you have a straight flush? Most of us will agree that it’s always good to hold and play a straight flush. And why not?! After all, it is the second strongest hand in poker according to the poker hand rankings.
However, would you believe us if we told you that sometimes folding a straight flush is the best decision you can take? That’s a pill hard to swallow, right?! We know, but trust us that it could be the best decision you could take in a specific given situation. But wait, we don’t say it out of thin air. We have an instance to tell you why we say this.
It was on Day 2 of Event #45: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed at World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2022, where folding a straight flush turned out to be rather profitable for Matt Stout. On Level 20, when the blinds were 10,000/15,000 (ante 15,000), Stout folded a straight flush. Everyone believed it was a sick fold, and he realised it when he reviewed the hand.
A player from under the gun position bet 25,000, which was called by the player to his left, i.e., in the hijack position, and the button. Stout from the big blind called the bet. The action, however, was checked till the full board of Q ♣ 9 ♦ 7 ♦ 8 ♦ A ♦ was revealed. On seeing the river, Stout bet 100,000. The action folded; however, he was raised to 300,000 by the player in the hijack. The player in the button shoved all-in with 800,000.
This made Stout fold a 6 ♦ 5 ♦ 7 ♠ 4 ♠ hand, even though he had a 5-9 ♦ straight flush. The hijack called and showed A ♦ 4 ♦ Xx Xx, for an ace-high flush. This was followed by the button revealing J ♦ T ♦ 8 ♣ 7 ❤ and scooping the pot for a winning 7-J ♦ straight flush.
Stout shared the same on Twitter:
I’m not saying that I’m in the zone and feeling really good about my game and my reads right now, but I *am* saying that I just correctly folded a straight flush in the $1500 PLO to avoid elimination. 🤷🏻♂️ Still cruising with ~700k @ 15k and ~60 players left.
— Matt Stout (@MattStoutPoker) June 22, 2022
Here we see Stout’s decision to fold was the best decision he could have taken because if he went all-in banking on his 5-9 ♦ straight flush, he would ultimately lose to the 7-J ♦ straight flush, which was clearly higher.
Stout knew he had hit the second best hand (according to hand rankings) on, and placed a bet of 100,000 on the fifth street of A ♠. But when he saw a player raising 3x, i.e300,000 chips, and another player re-raising to 800,000, he knew his straight flush could be a danger. With connectors 9 ♦ 7 ♦ 8 ♦ already on the board, there was a clear chance of someone confidently raising with T ♦ and J ♦ in hand. And that’s exactly what it was!
Thus Stout folding his 5-9d straight flush was the best decision for his survival in the game in that given situation.
From this given example, we can learn that even though you have one of the strongest hands, sometimes it’s best to fold even the best of hands, to guard your position in the game, and play longer. However, one should always assess the situation, which includes the cards on the board, the opponents, their experience level, their expertise, the bets they are placing, their overall style of playing, their odds and one’s own odds, among other things. Also, there’s a popular saying in poker “When in doubt, fold it out!” So, don’t be afraid to fold if you are unsure. Most poker experts suggest that if you are in a dilemma about whether to fold or play, it’s often better to fold.
However, also remember, don’t fold every good hand, or else you will never win. Almost every time, the game requires you to take risks, but you should know how to calculate and manage those risks. Happy playing and happy winning!
WSOP is one of the most popular and anticipated poker series across the globe. It takes place annually, for a period of over one and half months. With several games happening every day at the WSOP and countless hands being played, there are some really interesting as well as controversial hands that take place. This years edition, WSOP 2022, also saw many such hand like this one. Other interesting hands like Matija Dobric’s failed bluff against Adrian Attenborough, Alejandro Lococo’s successful bluff against Karim Rebei in the Main Event, a Royal Flush showing up at the Main Event. There were also a couple of controversial incidents where a joker showed up on the flop and another where two three of spades turned up on the flop.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by manifesting herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in drawing and DIY crafts.
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