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Folding Is Boring and Boring Is Winning


Sky Matsuhashi

on June 10, 2021

“You might be a losing player if… your hatred of boring poker causes you to play too many hands.”

-Sky, channeling his inner Jeff Foxworthy

Let's turn the above idea into a new poker motto:

Folding is boring, and boring is winning.

Imagine giving yourself a long-term, unbeatable mathematical edge against your opponents. That's what happens when you fold more often preflop than they do.

Listen to this podcast episode:

*Note, the show notes below don't match 100% with this podcast episode. I'm updating and improving this episode audio soon!*


A Common Downfall for Poker Players

A downfall that many of my new students have is the desire to play a lot of hands to see a lot of flops.

Who is your #1 target at the table? The Fish who play too many hands.

They can't help but call preflop with any pretty hand, open-raise too much or 3bet with too many hands.

This idea of “folding is winning” is NOT sexy, but it’s the truth.

The quickest way to improve results is to play less hands than they do. Less hands = a mathematical advantage.

But, how do you play less hands than them? You fold more.



The VPIP of Micro Stakes Winners

Most micro stakes winners VPIP (voluntarily put money in the pot) less than 25% of the time (often just 15%-20%). This means they're folding the other 75% of the time!

And what about the losers you target? They're VPIP'ing 30% or even more.


Take Action with Flopzilla Pro Right Now

Open Flopzilla Pro and use the Multi-player Mode. Enter in a 25% range (like the image below) and put it against a 26% range.

What's the equity difference between these two ranges?

The 25% VPIP range has a slight mathematical advantage over the 26% range.


Now, put the 25% against a much looser 45% VPIP:

Wow, 55% equity vs 45%! Vegas was built on a 1% house edge, you have 10%!

Learn by following along with me in Flopzilla Pro:


Play Tighter with Preflop Ranges

Use the KISS Cash Game ranges to help yourself fold more. These ranges limit calling in every position, and you'll raise more often in the best positions. Get the KISS Ranges here:


Following the KISS ranges, your total VPIP (across all positions) will be around 15%. What equity advantage do you have over the 26% and the 45% average VPIP’ers?

15% versus 26%:

A lovely 10%+ edge.


15% versus 45%:

Wow, 19% edge!


Playing tighter ranges than they do will lead you to 💰 on your poker journey.


Actual Range versus Range Scenario

You might say, “Sky, when I play it’s not my VPIP versus their VPIP. I raise, they call. There are different situations so this total VPIP versus VPIP stuff isn’t applicable.”

2 things to that:

  1. Actually, this VPIP versus VPIP is applicable and useful because it highlights the equity advantage your general tendency of folding has.
  2. Let's look at an actual situation:
    • You open-raise 15% in the MP, the BB player with a VPIP of 40% might defend his BB with a 50% range.
    • What equity advantage does your 15% range have vs his 50% calling range?
    • 61% vs 39% = 22% preflop advantage.


Improve your Flopzilla skills with the Flopzilla Pro Course:

12 videos, 3.75 hours of follow-along instructions + 3 powerful downloads to get the most from this key software.


You Are Your Biggest Enemy

You might be thinking, “I can't fold that much. That’s too boring and I don’t want to be a nit!”

And you're right.

“Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right.” -Henry Ford (and Stewie from The Family Guy)

You are your own worst enemy, and your inability to fold is what's causing your losses.

I have a 1-on-1 student who still limps and calls raises, even though he knows not to do it.

But, his bad habits developed from years of playing LIVE are hard for him to break. He's his own biggest enemy right now, but he's working through it.


3 Tips to Break Calling Habits

For most players who VPIP too often, it’s calling and limping that are the major culprits.

Tip #1: Believe That Calling Is Bad For Results

What are your win rates for these 5 preflop actions?

  1. Raising First In
  2. Preflop 3betting
  3. Limping
  4. Calling a 2bet
  5. Raising then calling a 3bet

It’s very likely you are making money with the first two (the aggressive plays), and losing money with the last 3, the calling plays.

I've seen hundreds of student databases and this is normally the case: Winning when raising, and losing when calling.

Let this realization help you to find more preflop folds. Continue raising the way you do, but the first step to folding more is calling less.


Tip #2: Use Ranges

Download and use the KISS Cash Game Ranges (form above). Trust me, they'll have you calling less and raising more.


Tip #3: Be OK With Being A Nit

Too many students come to me and they say things like:

  • “I can't fold here, that’s too nitty.”
  • “I never fold this hand, there's too much potential.”
  • “If I fold now, I’m giving up and they’ll think I’m a pushover.”

Here’s the thing, you control your attitude towards folding.

Don’t choose to feel like a nit when folding. Instead, accept that folding more leads to winning more.

One of the great things about folding is that your opponents don’t know what you had. You opened with AJ and made a tight laydown versus a 3bet. They don’t know you had AJ. For all they know, you were stealing with T7s.

This nitty feeling you have is all in your head, and because it's all in your own head, you can control the narrative. Plus, who cares if they think you're a nit.

Tell yourself: “I'm folding because it's the best play, and this sets me up for future success, while avoiding losses right now.”



Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

Fold more! Take action on the 3 tips here to give yourself an unbeatable mathematical edge:

  1. Believe That Calling Is Bad For Results
  2. Use Ranges
  3. Be OK With Being A Nit

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.


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Sky Matsuhashi

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