Online Poker Strategy – Calculating Hand Equity

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Getting better at online poker is a gradual strategy where you keep adding tools to your arsenal. And one way you can do that is by knowing how to calculate pot equity. This might sound a daunting concept, but it’s actually quite straightforward when it’s explained.

Defining Hand Equity

The simplest way to explain hand equity is to use a heads-up example from Texas hold’em. Okay, for any players who watch this form of poker online or TV, they will be familiar with the percentages that are applied to each player’s hand as the round progresses. Those percentages are used to signify which hand has the greater hand equity, which also means who is more likely to win.

How to Calculate hand Equity

In the average hand, you will have limits on what you can calculate, but there are some basics to bear in mind. First of all, you need to remember that a deck of cards has 52, while there are 13 in each suit and there are four cards of each value.

Flush Example

  1. A flush can be any five cards in the same suit, so there are 13 possible cards. In this example, you have the 7 and A of hearts, while the 2 and 9 of hearts are in the flop.
  1. At this point, you need to figure out how many “outs” you have, which simply means the number of cards that will complete your hand. In this case, you subtract the 7-A and 2-9 from the 13 cards in the suit, which would leave you with 9 outs.
  1. On the flop, you can quickly calculate your hand equity by multiplying the outs by four. Here, 9 x 4 would equate to 36% hand equity.
  1. If the hand continues to the turn and you haven’t created the flush, then you multiply the outs by two. For this example, 9 x 2 is 18% hand equity. As you can see, the equity decreases if you fail to win the hand.

Straight Example

  1. You have 2 and 4 unsuited and the flop has 2 and 5 unsuited, so there are two cards (A or 6) by 4 suits that can create the straight, which means 8 outs.
  1. For the flop, hand equity is 8 x 4 = 32%, which drops to 16% (8 x 2) if the straight is not completed on the turn.

Tips for Using Hand Equity

These calculations can get quite complex, but they can be applied to the more common hands in Texas hold’em:

  • Fair share: Divide the pot to figure out your fair share. For example, four people in a pot gives you a 25% fair share.
  • Using equity: Your strongest bluff is made on the flop. In the flush example, there is 36% pot equity at this stage.
  • Practice: Record scenarios from your last session and practise on the calculations to get familiar with the process.

Hand equity is one of many tools that can help your poker game – check back for more strategy guides.

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