Odds — the poker how to

January 3rd, 2008 — General, Odds, Poker Tips

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

I had a great Christmas, and enjoyed taking a break from poker to spend time with family and friends.

I’m ready to get back to the tables, though. icon_smile-8272212

Playing In The Blinds: Comparison

In Limit, it is difficult to over-defend your big blind. Against a single raise we are typically getting 4:1 (or better) to see a flop.

If we fold, we lose .5BBs immediately. So, making the call only needs to result in us losing .49BBs or less and we have a profitable hand.

No Limit is very different, however. A typical raise is 3 times the big blind, so we are getting 3:1 on our money instead.

However, postflop is where the problem comes in. Most of the times we will miss, and against an aggressive opponent it will be difficult to show-down medium-strength hands cheaply.

Because of the huge disadvantage of being out of position in NL, we are forced to fold many hands that we would otherwise want to play.

Note that when the SB raises and we are in the BB we can call all these hands, things like Axs and JTo that play poorly OOP play well in position.

OOP we typically want hands that flop well, and can hold up to some heat. Pairs 66+, AJs+, AQo+, KQ is a decent range for calling heads-up OOP.

Against a passive / bad player we can call more hands, since he will give us cheap cards and pay off well. Hands like A9s-ATs, ATo+, KJs, PPs 22-55, and some stronger SCs like JTs become playable.

Fighting Back

There will be aggressive players at your tables who try to steal the blinds too often. How do we fight back?

The answer: Preflop Reraises.

Someone who is opening 30-40% of the time from the button very rarely has a strong hand. They don’t mind being called, however, since they have the advantage of position after the flop.

Reraising a range of JJ+, AQo+, and occasionally some “creative” stuff like JTs, 65o, etc, will make him think twice about stealing your blind.

Be Confident

It’s easy to over-defend your blinds in NL, since we put so much at risk both preflop and postflop, that it is usually correct to just fold when OOP.

However, making sure to fight back against aggressive players with liberal preflop reraises, coupled with tight starting standards, will make you a tough blind to steal.

$11,247.50 In One Day!

December 12th, 2007 — General, Hand Analysis, Huge Wins, Odds

Ran really hot today…


(click image for enlarged version)

I won a fair amount of pots without the goods, but today was one of those great days where I flop set over set, hit the nuts vs top2, etc, and just repeatedly stack people.

Also, one maniac at my table doubled me up twice, most notably for ~$1600 at 5/10.

He raises from the CO to $35, I 3bet to $150 with AA since he will call reraises light and we are deep.

I bet $200 into ~$300 on the flop (QT6r) and shove when he raises to $525 – he calls with a bare gutshot for over 160bbs! Fortunately he doesn’t hit(~18% chance) and I scoop a nice $3200 pot.

It wasn’t all easy though, I dodged a set by folding an overpair vs an aggressive flop c/r, and managed to fold a split 2pair vs a set in another hand. Saving bets is as important as earning them!

This $11,247.50 day was awesome. It ended up being over $2600/hr, crazy!

I do have to pay taxes at the end of Dec though, that’s going to be a bit painful after all this! icon_smile-8272212

Texas Holdem Flop Odds and How Different Hands Fare vs. Each Other on the Flop

September 24th, 2007 — Odds

I was playing around a bit with some equity calculators (resource links at the bottom) and I thought about writing something on how different hands do vs. each other. Basically texas holdem flop odds in a nutshell. All these examples are of two hands getting it all-in on the flop and how much equity they have on the flop (how often a hand will win or how many % of the pot that belongs to each hand).

Pocket Aces vs. Royal Flush Draw

Starting with some of the big hitters right away. Usually when decent hold’em players get the money in on the flop they’ll both have pretty big hands like combo draws (for example; a flush draw with overcards).

Let us say you have a hand like Adiamond-6255997 A spade-6949528 vs. K heart-8781809 Jheart-8781809.

You raise it up to a standard 3 or 4 big blinds with your pocket aces and get a call from the blinds by the dude holding KJ of hearts.

Now the flop comes down Aheart-8781809 Theart-8781809 3spade-6949528.

You both get it all-in on the flop (as you should). What are your equities?

You with your Adiamond-6255997 A spade-6949528 are about 66.162% to win this pot. This means that you will win around 66.16% in the long run.

And by now you’ve probably figured that the guy with K heart-8781809 Jheart-8781809 is 33.838% to win.

Did you expect to lose 1 time out of 3 with top set? Pretty interesting if you haven’t done these calculations before. It helps you cope with getting outdrawn when you know that you will lose about 34% of the time here.

Bottom Set vs. Straight Flush Draw

Lets get right to it.

You have 5 heart-8781809 5spade-6949528 and you’re up against Q heart-8781809 Jheart-8781809.

On a flop of T heart-8781809 9heart-8781809 5 spade-6949528.

And again you both get it all-in. What is your equity vs. the straight flush draw? You are only 57.879% to win with your bottom set, so it is very close to a coinflip! Let us do one more and let’s make it a common one.

Big Pocket Pair vs. Flush Draw

This is a very common occurrence in the online no-limit texas hold’em games I play in. Do you know how likely you are to win when you have pocket aces all-in vs. a flush draw on the flop? Let us find out!

If you have K club-3754674 Kspade-6949528 vs. 6 heart-8781809 5heart-8781809.

And the flop is J heart-8781809 2heart-8781809 9spade-6949528.

And guess what… You both get it all-in on the flop icon_wink-7044008

Your equity with pocket kings is 61.62%. So the suited connector will still win 38.38% of the time, that’s over one third of the time!

Pretty crazy huh?

I hope you found this post enlightening because it really goes to show you that in some spots you really aren’t going to win as often as you think you are.

The tools I used for all the calculations can be found online for free. Here are the links:

Poker Stove – This is a free downloadable software which is specifically designed for hold’em and it helps you determine your equity in all-in pots (like I did in this post).

Two Dimes – This calculator is a free online script. It comes in handy if you play other games than hold’em. Games like Omaha, Stud, Razz and Lowball.