Poker Game Theory
Game theory has been around for a long time. The first practical game theory appeared in the 1700’s through the work of Daniel Bernoulli, who introduced to the world such concepts as diminishing returns and expected utility. A winning poker strategy is all about utilizing game theory effectively. Much as a master warrior studies the martial arts in order to defeat his opponents, the master poker player studies game theory in order to dominate his opponents on the felt.
2 Goals of Poker Game Theory
In applying game theory to poker, the poker player is trying to accomplish 2 main tasks:
1. Understand the opposing poker players and their strategy
2. Develop a counter strategy to beat the opponents
Although those two goals may seem overly simplistic, the ability to execute them efficiently and effectively over and over again is what differentiates the winning poker players from the fish at the table.
Understanding the Opposing Players
Poker is a game where all the players share common knowledge. They all can see the community cards, the all see the size of each other’s stacks and the amount in the pot; but no player has complete knowledge. No poker player knows exactly what each of the other players is holding. The most successful poker players, the big tournament and cash game winners, are the ones who can turn the common knowledge into the most complete set of knowledge. The best players simply make better use of the information available to every player. They remember past hands, and how they other poker players acted, they pick up on physical tells, they know the exact odds of a given card coming out that will help or hurt them on the turn or the river. How are you working to make better use of the common knowledge? Are you studying poker odds until you completely understand them? Have you read and learned the books on tells and psychology? As you get better and better at knowing what cards your opponents have, your own cards matter less and less, and you will win increasing amounts of money.
Developing A Strategy To Dominate Opponents
After you understand how the other poker players are playing, you need to hone your own strategy to beat them. Knowing that another player has you beat does you know good if you go ahead and call their bet on the river anyway. Likewise, knowing that your opponent is bluffing won’t help you if you aren’t willing to re-raise them on the river even if your hand is garbage. When you develop your strategy there are many things to keep in mind. Are you playing a cash game or a tournament? If you’re playing a cash game, which of your opponents are making mistakes that you can take advantage of? It is far easier to win money off of opponents playing badly than to slowly work a small advantage against someone on top of his game. You should identify the weak opponents and target them, as opposed to just waiting for a hand and playing against whom-ever limps into the pot with you. If you are playing a tournament you must develop your strategy to help you effectively pick your spots. Playing a hand for all your chips at the beginning of a tournament, even as a small favorite, can be a huge mistake! Sure you might be a 55-45 favorite going in, but the 45% of the time you lose, you have a huge opportunity cost. You are giving up all the future spots in the tournament where you can get money in as an even bigger favorite, or even against an opponent drawing dead.
Study The Game, And You’ll Do Well
As someone taking the time to study poker and learn how to play better, you would likely be amazed at how many of other poker players put no work what so ever into their poker game. They go to the tables, if they win, they win, if not then oh well. By taking the time to study your poker game, learn how to read your opponents, and learn how to develop a strategy to beat them, you will find your self winning more and more money playing poker.
- Always play at the right limits for your bankroll - Although it is tempting to play bigger games and try to win more money to grow your poker bankroll faster, you need to make sure you don’t play too high too often, or you are drastically increasing your chance of going bankrupt. Good bankroll discipline will allow you to take the winning and losing streaks in stride and continue making money at poker in the months and years to come. A good rule of thumb is that for No Limit Texas Holdem, you need at least 15 buy ins for whatever stakes you are playing. So if you want to play at the $.1-$.25 with a $25 max buy in, you need $375 to have an acceptably low risk of ruin. (For a long term winning player. A losing player will go bankrupt at any stakes) Here is a poker bankroll table which shows how much money you need to play at any stakes.
- Always Be Clearing A Poker Bonus - Poker Bonuses can dramatically boost your bankroll. Some sites such as Bodog or Full Tilt Poker offer 100% match bonuses up to $500-$600. Since you generally clear bonuses based on the total amount of rake the table you are playing at pays, you can sit back and your chair, play tight poker, and let your opponents build big pots, pay rake, and clear your bonus for you. In fact, for a lot of low limit players, clearing bonuses can account for 50% or more of their total poker winnings ! Since there are so many poker sites out there, keep your money mobile. When you clear a bonus at one site, move your money out and move onto a new site. When the first site offers a reload bonus, you can move back and clear some more. Until you have a poker bankroll of at least $5000, clearing bonuses can make you a lot of money compared to how much you can win at the tables.
- Sign Up For Rakeback At Your Favorite Room - Nothing is more discouraging than checking your poker tracker stats and finding out that you paid more to the poker site in rake than you won for yourself. If you could reduce the rake you could win a whole lot more money! Rakeback is online poker’s solution to that problem. A lot like a Las Vegas casino comping you for your play, with rakeback you can get approximately 30% of the your share of the rake paid at your table returned to your account. For a winning poker player, rakeback can account for 10-20% of their total poker winnings at the end of the year. For a losing poker player, rakeback can help blunt the blow and keep you in the game longer before you have to reload your account. Although you don’t need to sign up for rakeback at every poker site you play, especially if you are bonus whoring, you should sign up at the 1 or 2 sites you play most often. For higher stakes players, rakeback is a must, and can dominant Bonuses in terms of free money to your account.
- Learn To Multi-Table - In order to clear bonuses, win money at rakeback, or even play tight poker at low limits without going crazy, you need to learn to multi-table. If you can learn how to win at 4-8 tables, instead of just one, you can drastically increase the amount of money you win at poker, and grow your poker bankroll a lot faster. In fact, there are online poker bots who play multiple tables with the goal of breaking even at the poker table. They then rake in the money from bonuses and rakeback and end up making a lot of money for their owners. The nice thing about multi-yabling is that you will have enough good hands to play that you won’t be tempting to play garbage just because you are bored. In live play, a lot of poker players end up playing bad hands, like King -9 offsuit, just because they are the best hands they have seen in 30 minutes. Online you can play enough tables to keep yourself interested and stay focused.
|Required Poker Bankroll|
|Blinds||No Limit Requirement||Limit Requirement|
|$.01 - $.02||30||12|
|$.02 - $.05||75||30|
|$.05 - $.10||150||60|
|$.10 - $.20||300||120|
|$.25 - $.50||750||300|
|$.50 - $ 1||1500||600|
|$ 1 - $ 2||3000||1200|
|$ 2 - $ 4||6000||2400|
|$ 3 - $ 6||9000||3600|
|$ 5 - $ 10||15000||6000|
|$ 10 - $ 20||30000||12000|
|$ 15 - $ 30||45000||18000|
|$ 20 - $ 40||60000||24000|
|$ 30 - $ 60||90000||36000|
|$ 40 - $ 80||120000||48000|
|$ 50 - $ 100||150000||60000|
Study Your Playing History To Find And Fix Leaks - After you play for a while, whether it is once every week or once every 5000 hands, you should review your playing stats in Poker Tracker to find and fix leaks in your game. Put a filter on the hands to only show hands since you have last reviewed you game and see exactly how you have done. Is your hourly rate improving from week to week ? You should be learning and getting better as you play poker. Studying your game will help you improve faster. Look over some of your best and worst hands, the ones where you won or lost a lot of money. Was there anything that you could have done to make more money in your winning hands ? Could you have gotten another bet in by playing more aggressively, or trapped an opponent for their entire stack by slow playing ? In the hands that you lost, was there anything that you could have done to save some money ? After review, was there anyway you could have exercised better pot control or folded the hand to save your chips ? Another thing that you should do when you review your stats is look for any opponents you have played a lot of pots against. Are there any players who you have played against multiple times ? Take a quick look some hands they have played and take notes on that player so you have more information the next time you play. Many sites store your player notes on your hard drive, so you can quickly review your poker tracker hands and then edit the text files when you have seen something to take note of.
Take Advantage Of Bonuses And Rakeback - If you are a serious poker player, you should always be taking advantage of either online poker bonuses, rakeback, or both. When you have a small bankroll that you are looking to build, a poker bonus can be a godsend. You can get a bonus at some sites like Full Tilt Poker or Bodog which can double your bankroll from $600 to $1200. If you have a large bankroll and are playing higher stakes games, the bonuses are not as important, but rakeback can become key. The reason there is so much potential money for you to get is that you are playing so many hands. If you play, on average, 4 full ring games at a time, you will see approximately 250 hands every hour. The average pot size at many games is around 10 big blinds, and the average rake is 5%. So 250 * 10 * .05 = 125. The poker room will rake 125 big blinds from your tables every hour. Since many poker sites clear their bonuses at a rate of 1 point awarded to you per dollar of table rake, and 10 points clears $1 of bonus, it means that the 125 big blinds raked from your tables every hour could clear 12.5 big blinds of bonuses for you. If you play $.5-$1 poker, that is the equivalent of winning an extra $12.50 per hour, which is substantial and may be as much as half the amount of money you won just playing poker. If you sign up for rakeback, you can usually get around 25% of your rake back to you. If you play at 4 full tables where they took 125 big blinds, 12.5 big blinds of rake will be credit to you. That means with rakeback you can get an extra 3 big blinds into your account every hour you play.
Play Within Your Bankroll - Even the best poker players lose some of the times they sit down at the poker table. Sometimes you will play bad, sometimes you will get an extremely unlucky hand and lose your entire stack. If you are consistently playing at too high stakes, then these unlucky chances can decimate your bankroll. Although you may be a better player than your opponents, you are not guaranteed to win any particular session, you are just more likely to win over the long run. The way to keep bad sessions from bankrupting you is to only play with a low percentage of your poker budget at any one time. The general rule of thumb is that for no limit Texas holdem you need at least 15 buy ins for whatever stakes you are playing, and that is only if you are playing a single game. Since multi-tabling puts you at risk of playing on tilt one night and losing money at all of your tables, you need to have a larger bankroll if you multi-table. You should have 15 buy ins * the square root of the number of tables you play at once. So if you play 1 table you should have 15 buy in, 4 tables you should have 30 buy ins, 10 tables you should have 47 buy ins. What that means is that if you play $.5-$1 No limit holdem, and you play 4 tables at a time, you need 30 buy ins * $100 buy in = $3000 to minimize your chance of going bankrupt.
Learn How Many Table Maximize Your Profit - Not everyone is the same, some people make the most money when they limit their attention to 4 tables, others are willing to put less focus on any single table, but play 20 or more at once. They point isn’t to play as many tables as possible it is to make the most money possible. For you to make the most money, you will need to find what your ideal number of tables to play at a single time is. The best way to do that is with a tool like Poker Tracker. Poker tracker will keep track of all your hands for you, your winnings, and the hours you play. Since you can filter the database by dates, the best thing to do is to spend a week playing a series of different number of tables at a time. Spend the first week playing 4 tables, the second week 6 tables, the third week 8 tables, etc. Your goal is to get 1000-2000 hands in for each set of tables. You can then easily determine where you are making the most money per hour (which is not necessarily the most money per hand). After you get more experience multi-tabling, say you found you make the most money playing 6 tables and have been doing that for a month or two, you might want to rerun the experiment to find out if you have gotten better and can make more money playing more tables now.
Minimize Your Distractions & Chances For Error - Since you will be splitting your focus many ways, you want to minimize any other possible distractions that are in your control. What that means for online play is ignoring the other players. You can’t pick up tells from players online, and some of them will intentionally be trying to piss you off. Although you should be running a program to track and display their stats, you shouldn’t pay any other attention to them. What that means is you should turn off avatars, and turn off chat. If you aren’t going to talk to anyone, why bother wasting your attention reading their chat ? Also why bother displaying bulky avatars when you can turn them off and fit more tables on the screen ? Minimizing your chances for error means turning on any poker room option that you can to help you quickly see your hand, and any action that comes to you. That means that you should always make sure the size of the pot and any bets are displayed numerically, trying to count online chips is a pain in the ass, it also means you should always use a 4 color deck. Many online poker players have lost large pots because they were using a two color deck, and didn’t realize that a flush possibility was on the board. Use a 4 color deck so you can quickly see suits and eliminate the chance you will make that mistake.
Use The Best Poker Tools To Help Your Game - When you play poker in a cardroom, it is just you and the other players. All you have to help you win is your mind. You have to remember how the other players play, calculate odds, and make the best decisions. Fortunately, online, you don’t have to do all that. You can use sophisticated computer programs to give you information and help you play your best game. One of the best poker programs that every online poker player should have is Poker Tracker. Head and shoulders above it’s competitors, poker tracker keeps track of all your stats, and all the stats of every opponent you play a hand against. With it’s heads up display that puts a summary of the players play history above their name on your poker table, you can easily see how every one of your competitors is playing, even if you can’t remember what they did 2 hands ago. For multi-tablers, poker tracker is essential. You will have so many opponents that you simply can not remember how they all play. Additionally it is difficult to remember how a player plays a day or a week later when you might play against them again. Poker tracker gives you all the information you need and allows you to focus your attention on what you need to, namely playing more tables and making more money. Other tools that you can buy will calculate odds for you and give you recommendations on how to play.
Avoid Marginal Hands Which Require Complicated Post Flop Play - As a heads up player, you want to make the majority of your poker decisions preflop. You don’t want to be playing a lot of pots where you have to make complicated decisions on the flop, turn, and river. You want to avoid complicated decisions for two reasons, the first is that you won’t have enough information or time to make good decisions. Since you will be splitting your focus, you won’t be able to sit and think through all the possibilities for the hand, you will need to make a decision and go with it. Quick decisions increase your chance of making a mistake. Mistakes cost you money, so you want to avoid putting yourself in situations that you can make mistakes. What that means is you want to tighten your hand selection when you are multi-tabling. A lot of marginal hands are profitable if you can read the other players, make bluffs, and make big lay-downs. But you want to avoid those marginal hands. Hands you want to play are classic good poker hands, big pairs, big aces, any pair from late position, and big or suited broadway cards. Hands that you want to avoid are weak aces, or small suited connectors.
Pay Close Attention To Position - When you aren’t focusing on a single game, position becomes even more important. Playing out of position puts you at a disadvantage. You are at even more of a disadvantage when you are multi-tabling and playing a hand out of position. If you flop a strong hand, you may bet every street and get called down by a better hand without realizes the danger your hand is in. If you multi-table with weak hands and play out of position, you are setting yourself to get your entire stack taken. The solution is to decide which hands you will play from which positions in which situations. Making a chart of your playable hand range from each position and putting it by your computer for easy reference will help you decide which hands you should play. One easy thing that you can do to avoid playing weak hands from early position is to never be the first limper into a pot. If you are under the gun, or everyone folds around to you, always raise or fold. Raise if you have a good hand, fold with the rest. You can limp into a pot with certain hands, such as small pocket pairs, if other players have limped in ahead of you, but don’t be the first limper.
Set up an ergonomic playing environment - At some point or another, most poker players realize that they can make more money if they can play more hours. For an online multi-tabler, this can lead to long stretches playing poker with only short breaks. While that can make you a lot of money, you can find yourself in a situation that many office workers do, namely carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain or similar problems stemming from sitting at a desk all day. If you play a lot of poker, but it hurts you to play, you won’t be able to play as well and it will cost you money. So if you get serious about playing online poker, you need to set up and ergonomic playing environment. Go to your office store and invest in a good chair, a good desk, dual monitors, a good mouse, and any thing else that will make your playing easier. Reinvesting some of your poker winnings into the equipment you need to continue winning poker is a good strategy that should pay off in the long run.
Set Up Tiled Tables - How you set up the tables on your screen is important. The best way to set up the tables is by tiling them across your screen. If you are playing 3 tables, then tile the tables in a 3 by 3 matrix. If you are playing 12 tables, go with a 4 by 3 matrix. Tiling the tables, as opposed to cascading the tables and just making a decision on whichever table pops up, allows you to see what is happening at all the tables all the time. Tiling the tables allows you to see and understand the flow of every table. You can see big hands as they come up and understand who is running good at each table, and who is tilting. Finally, by tiling the tables, instead of cascading all your poker tables, you avoid the risk of playing a poker hand preflop, making a decision on another table, and having the first table disappear on your screen right when the flop comes and you need to continue playing the hand.
Knowing the odds in a texas holdem poker game is very important. Knowing the correct poker odds will help you make better decisions, and better decisions in poker lead to more money in your pocket. In addition to just knowing poker odds, it is also useful to know how the odds are calculated. It will give you a better understanding of the game, and you might want to calculate some odds that you can’t just look up. This page will show you how to calculate the odds of hitting a flush, for any suited or unsuited cards, and how the chances of hitting your flush change from preflop odds depending on what cards come or don’t come. If you just want to see a table of the odds, and don’t care how they were calculated, go to the bottom of this page.
A Brief Summary On How Odds Are Calculated
In poker, if we want to find the probability of hitting your hand, all you need to do is calculate how many hand combinations there are that will hit your hand, and divide by the total hand combinations possible. You then know the percent chance of a certain event (a flush for instance) happening. The tool that we will use to help us find the total number of hands that help us, and the total number of hands possible is combinatorics.
In Poker, Card Order Is Not Important
We can use combinatorics to calculate odds because the order that the cards come is not important. The card order is important only if it affects the betting. Thus a card coming on the river is different than it coming on the flop, but a card first off the flop is the same as 3rd off the flop. If you get dealt a hand of Ace of spades, King of Spades, it is exactly the same as the hand King of Spades, Ace of Spades. On the flop, it doesn’t matter if the cards come out 5-6-9 or 6-9-5. So all we care about is the combinations of cards that come out, not what order they are in. (The order of the cards would be permutations)
How To Calculate Combinations
To calculate the number of possible poker hand combinations you need to know the number of starting cards, and how many you are selecting from it. If you want to know the number of unique 2 card hands you would calculate the number of 2 card combinations you can make out of 52 cards to choose from. From here on in we will denote this as Comb(52,2).
|Equation For Combinations|
|Calculate the number of 2 card combinations in 52 possibilities||(52 * 51 ) / ( 1 * 2)||1326|
|Calculate the # of 3 card combinations out of 50 cards, Comb(50,3)||( 50*49*48 ) / (1*2*3)||19600|
|The number of different combinations of aces in a 2 card hand, Comb(4,2)||( 4 * 3 ) / (2 * 1)||6|
You can check that for yourself by dealing it out. The ace combinations are AsAh, AsAd, AsAc, AhAd, AhAc, AdAc
Once you understand combinations there is really nothing to them. Applying them to poker hands will be the fun part.
Odds of Getting Suited Cards
Let’s start by calculating the chances of getting suited cards in the hole. We already calculated that the number of possible hole card combinations are Comb(52,2) = 1326. So how many of them are suited ?
If we start with an ace of any suit there are 12 suited combinations with the ace as the high card. AK, AQ, AJ … A3, A2. There are 11 suited combinations with the King as the high card KQ, KJ, KT, … K3, K2. There are 10 with Queen High, 9 Jack High, going all the way down to 1 with 3 high (32). Adding those = 12+11+10+9+8…+3+2+1 = 78. But that was just one suit. Since there are 4 suits the total number of suited possibilities are 78*4 = 312
So 312 suited combinations / 1326 possibles = .235
The odds of suited cards in the hole are 23.5%
For every 1 suited combination there are 3 unsuited combinations. For instance for every Ace-King of spades, you will have an Ace-spades King-hearts, Ace-spades King-clubs, Ace-spades King-diamonds. So if there are 3 times as many unsuited combinations as suited ones then 3 * 312 = 936
936 unsuited / 1326 total = 70.6% of getting an unsuited card in the hole
Since you have odds of drawing a pair in the hole 5.9% of the time, we can check the calculations by 23.5% + 70.6% + 5.9% = 100% chance that you either have suited cards, unsuited cards, or a pocket pair in the hole. ( 100% chance as long as you are playing Texas holdem….)
What Are The Odds of Hitting A Flush ?
Whatever hand you have you will be interested in your odds of winning at a showdown. So after all 5 cards have come out, what are your chances to hit your flush ?
Assuming you started with suited cards in the hole you calculate the preflop odds of hitting a flush by the river as such.
If you have 2 hearts as your hole cards, you either need 3 hearts to come on the board, 4 hearts to come on the board, or 5 hearts to come on the board. (We’re ignoring the chances of 5 spades, clubs, or diamonds coming if you hold hearts, because then the best you can do is split the pot. If 5 hearts come to the board, we’re hoping you aren’t holding 2 low hearts in your hand so you don’t just play the board)
To start, how many possible 5 card board combinations are there? Well you already know 2 cards, your two hole cards, so there are only 50 unknown cards left in the deck.
|Odds Of Hitting A Flush With Suited Cards|
|Possible 5 Card Board Combinations - 2 Hold Cards Are Known, So 50 Unknown are left, Comb(50,5)||(50*49*48*47*46) / (1*2*3*4*5)||2,118,760 board combinations|
|How Many Hit The Flush ?|
|5 Flush Cards On The Board||Comb(11,5)||462|
|4 Flush Cards On The Board||Comb(11,4) * 39 (number of non flush cards in deck)||12870|
|3 Flush Cards On The Board||Comb(11,3) * Comb(39,2) (any combination of the 39 no hearts left)||122265|
|Total Flush Possibilities||462+12870+122265||135597|
|Flush Odds||135,597 / 2,118,760||0.0639|
Suited cards have a 6.4% chance of hitting a flush by the river! The 6.4% chance of getting your suited cards to flush adds expected value to suited hole cards, but not as much as some people seem to think.
What About Unsuited Cards ?
Unsuited cards can only hit a flush if there are 4 or 5 flush cards on the board. But they can do it for either of the 2 suits of the unsuited hole cards. In addition, if you have a Heart and a Spade in the hole, there would be 12 hearts and 12 spades left in the deck, instead of 11 left in the deck if you have suited hole cards.
|Odds Of Hitting A Flush With Unsuited Cards|
|# Of Possible 5 Flushes||2 Suits * Comb(12,5)||1584|
|# Of Possible 4 Flushes||2 Suits * Comb(12,4) * 39 unsuited cards||38610|
|Total Odds||( 1584 + 38610 ) / 2,118760||0.0189|
Unsuited cards have a 1.9% chance of hitting a flush by the river. The probability of getting a flush with suited cards is 4.5% greater than the chances to hit a flush with unsuited hole cards. Of course, that doesn’t mean that any pair of suited cards are worth playing ….
But Wait, There’s More !
We can also calculate the probability of flopping a flush, or flopping a flush draw, as opposed to hitting the flush by the river. For this we will only work with suited hole cards, although you can use the same procedure to calculate the odds with unsuited cards. (Note, I did all the calculations on this page with Google Toolbar, you don’t need any kind of fancy programs or calculators to do poker math)
How many possible flops are there? Well you know 2 cards, your 2 hearts in the hole, so we want any 3 card combination out of 50 cards.
|Flush Odds On The Flop|
|Possible Flops, 50 Unknown Cards||Comb(50,3)||19600|
|Chances To Flop A Flush, 3 hearts out of 11 left||Comb(11,3)||165|
|Chances To Flop A Flush Draw, 2 hearts out of 11 left||Comb(11,2) * 39||2145|
|Backdoor Flush Draw, 11 hearts left, 39 unsuited cards in any combination of 2||11 * Comb(39,2)||8151|
|Flopped Flush Odds||165 / 19,600||0.0084|
|Flopped 4 Flush Draw||2145 / 19,600||0.1094|
|Flopped Backdoor Draw||8151 / 19,600||0.4159|
If you have suited hole cards, your odds of hitting the flop with a made flush is .84%. You will flop a 4 card flush draw 10.94% of the time, and a backdoor flush draw 41.6 % of the time.
Finally, what are the odds of hitting a flush draw ?
After the flop, you can see 5 cards, so there are 47 cards which could be dealt. If you have a 4 flush there are 9 flush cards left. You can either hit a flush card, non flush card, or a flush card, flush card. The number of 2 card combinations out of 47 are Comb(47,2) = 1081
|Odds Of Hitting A Flush Draw|
|Possible Turn-River Combinations, 47 Unknown Cards||Comb(47,2)||1081|
|Hit A 4 Flush|
|Turn-River = Flush-Flush Cards (9 flush cards left)||Comb(9,2)||36|
|Turn-River = Flush-Non Flush (9 flush cards, 38 Non Flush)||9 * 38||342|
|Odds Of Hitting A 4 Flush By The River||( 36 + 342) / 1081||0.349|
|Hitting A Backdoor Flush Draw|
|Need 2 Running Flush Cards Out Of 10||Comb(10,2)||45|
|Backdoor Flush Odds||45 / 1081||0.0416|
If you have a 4 card flush draw, you have a 34.9 % chance of making your flush by the river. Your odds of hitting a backdoor flush draw are 4.16%.
|Comprehensive Texas Holdem Flush Odds|
|Probability Of Getting Suited Cards||23.50%|
|Probability Of Getting Unsuited Cards||70.60%|
|On The Flop w/ Suited Hole Cards|
|Odds Of Hitting A Flush||0.84%|
|Odds Of Getting a 4 Card Flush Draw||10.90%|
|Odds Of Getting 3 Card (backdoor) Flush Draw||41.60%|
|Odds of Hitting Your 4 Card Flush Draw By The River||34.90%|
|Odds of Hitting Your Backdoor Flush Draw By The River||4.16%|
|Total Odds, By The River|
|Chances For of Suited Cards To Hit A Flush||6.40%|
|Chances For of Unsuited Hole Cards To Hit A Flush||1.90%|
Poker Hand Win Percentages
In a Texas Holdem Poker game, it is very important to have a good understanding of which hands are strong, and which hands are weak. Everyone knows that AA is the best hand, and that 72 offsuit is one of the worst. But what you might not know is the percent of time that every single possible hand wins against a random hand, or against a hand in a certain range.
The color coded charts below show how likely a hand is to win in certain scenarios. The upper right half of the hand chart contains suited hands, the lower left half of the hand chart is offsuit hands. Although, excepting heads up matches, you won’t often be up against a single random hand, these charts are very useful in helping to determine your starting hand selections.
The first chart shows the odds of every hand against any random hand, i.e. if your opponent pushes all in every hand regardless of his cards, these are your odds to beat him.
|Hand Win Percentages Against A Random Hand|
This shows the odds against an opponent who is only playing the top ~25 percent of all hands. There are some difficult to play hands in the top 25%, but nothing that is complete garbage. Hand win percentages here are somewhat, but not greatly, weaker than against any random hand. (Top 25% of hands is as a percentage of hands dealt. Thus while AA may be 1 of 169 possible hands and 1/169 = .592%, any pocket pair is less likely to come than a non-pair, so any given pair is only .452% of the hands dealt. Any given suited card, like AK suited, is .302% of the cards dealt, and any any suited combinations, like AQ offsuit, is .905% of the cards dealt.
|Hand Win Percentages Against Top 25% of Hands|
|Againts Any Pair, Any Suited Ace, Any 2 Broadway Cards, AKo-A6o, 10-9s, 98s, 87s|
As your opponents tighten up, some win percentages drop significantly. Weak aces lose significant value, because if you get action against an opponent only playing 14% of the hands, there is a good chance you are dominated. Strong hands also win less, but the drop is less significant. Ace-King suited loses 6% of it’s win rate (67% to 61%) where A-2 offsuit lost 18% of it’s win rate (55% - 37%)
|Hand Win Percentages Against Top 14% of Hands|
|Against AA-66, AKs-A7s, KQs-K10s, QJs, AKo-A10o, KQo, KJo, QJo|
You won’t often see a player who only voluntarily plays 6% of the hands (i.e. when not in the big blind will put money in preflop only 1/16 times). A player who plays that tight you will see play, on average, only 1 hand every 2 rounds at a full table. But when they play they will have a big hand, and the win range of any given hand against their playing range is very small. The bottom line is, don’t give rock’s action when you have marginal or even above average, hands.
|Hand Win Percentages Against Top 6.2% of Hands|
|Against AA-88, AKs-A10s, KQs, AKo, AQo|
Finally you have the top 6 hands. AA - 10,10 and AK suited. Nothing is good to play against that range. Fortunately any single opponent will only get a hand that good 2.5% of the time ( or once every 4 rounds ! ). If you see someone who is playing that few hands get involved, then get out of their way.
|Hand Win Percentages Against Top 2.5% Of Hands|
|Against AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10-10, AKs|
Projecting the Right Image at a Poker Table
One of the keys to winning at a game of Poker is to not let your opponents know what you have. And the key to this is to make them think that you are a different kind of player than you are. If you are a tight player, than you want the other people at the table thinking you are a maniac, that way they will give you action when you get you actually play a hand. If you are a loose player who bluffs frequently, you want the other people to think you are the rockiest person since Balboa. You want them folding to your steal attempts and not prone to looking you up with ace high.
So how can you accomplish this deception? Clearly there is only so much you can do. If you play every hand, people are not going to think that you are tight no matter how much you wish it. However there are actions you can take to influence the image you project to the poker table. Below is a list of several characteristics of tight players and of loose players. Simply act out the image you wish to project, but be careful not to let the projection actually influence your game
Tight Image - Tight players generally have their stacks neatly piled in front of them. They generally know how much they have, and can cut an even stack whenever they bet.
Loose Image - Loose Players are often sloppy with their chip stacks. They may have many stacks of different sizes, or one or two huge stacks in front of them. They will rarely have neat, even stacks
Tight Image - Many tight players are relatively silent at the table. They are there to play cards and not to get distracted. If you want to appear more tight, be quiet at the table and don’t engage in banter with other players
Loose Image - Many loose players are often boisterous. They will razz the other players, the dealer, waitress, and themselves. They will often be drinking, and loud, and fairly easy to spot. To look like a looser player, start commenting on other people’s play. Say things like you can’t believe they folded that hand. It will make you look like a jerk, but it will change your table image in a hurry.
Tight Image - If you want to look tight, you generally never want to show your cards. If you show your cards even occasionally, like when you have the nuts, people will wonder why you don’t show your cards the other times…. you must not have the nuts then.
Loose Image - This is easy. Bluff someone out of a pot, show them and rub it in. They will be looking to get back at you. Next time just make sure you have a solid hand when you get involved with them.
Tight Image - Looks sharp, like you just came from the office. Wide awake and paying close attention to the game.
Loose Image - Sloppily dressed. Looks like something you just threw together. You don’t care how you look, just like you don’t care what cards you are playing.
Tight Image - When you throw your cards away, gently place them in the pot, or flick them into the center.
Loose Image - Throw your cards into the center of the table. Act you like are angry that you got a hand that is bad enough that even you won’t play.
I am trying to replace an existing post with another one, this is testing how to do that
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