Poker is a game of skill, chance and inevitably, math. Despite many people saying intuition and feel of the game is important however mathematics plays a crucial role in the game. Poker player who want to go past the line of mediocrity should do some math home work. Some good players don’t even realize that they are applying mathematical concepts while they play poker.
But math goes beyond calculating the odds of drawing cards and the odds of making the nuts. In fact, you can use math to determine what is the best bet, when to bet, and what advantage such bet can make. Knowing this stuff allows you to have this power to determine whether or not the card is playable, thereby giving yourself more odds to win.
The Idea of Poker Equity
The concepts of when to call, raise, or fold the cards you are holding revolve around the idea of poker equity. Poker equity is loosely defined as the average portion of the pot size that you are expected to collect given the relative strengths of all the players’ hands. This value is based on the cards on hand and the circumstances where the hand is played, up to until after the river has been dealt.
Of course even though your hole cards stay the same, your poker equity changes every time a community card is dealt on the table. Think about this. If you have pocket aces and your opponent has JsTs, you have 79.2% equity. But supposing the flop JdTc2h was dealt. Your equity will dramatically decrease and will now be at 27.1%. Now, what if an ace of hearts was dealt? Well, the odds will be on your favor, all 100% of it, leaving your opponent with no equity to win.
Why Play with Equity
The principle of poker equity explains why you should raise best hands during pre-flop, and why you should fold cards that became sour after that. It also allows you to explore the cards’ potential by betting for value. Betting for value allows you to do two things with your bankroll – one, maximize winning by putting more money into the pot and two, minimize loses by folding bad cards or cards gone bad. It’ll be hard to track the possible value of your hole cards and use equity in every situation, but it’s good to take note of this important poker idea and to look at how such idea plays over the felt table.