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Betting Probabilities in Poker

 

To calculate the probability of poker you do not have to be a mathematician. The calculated probability of poker is divided into three parts:

  • Hand odds
  • Pot odds
  • Default odds

By calculating Hand odds in poker, you get information about your chances of winning cards to get the pot with the pot. This fact is not as important in itself.

However, when this data element adds the ratio between the pot size and the money we need to invest in staying in the game, we can get information that tells us if the investment will cost in the long run with the combination we have Pot odds (probability odds in poker).

To calculate exactly Pot odds, we need to include the money that we accept to be invested in the next betting circles (Implicit odds). Now let's take a look at the simplest example of calculating the probability. Two friends want to bet on throwing a coin. The one who tosses the coin tells his friend that one lev bet will be paid two. Calculate now the probability of this simple example. The chances for one of the coins to turn to the desired side is 50% or 1: 1. The stake and profit ratio is 1: 1. Statistically, they have equal chances to win. In the long run, if you are not lucky, you and your opponent in one hour will have the same amount of money with which you started the game. In the long run, in 100 consecutive coins you have to win 33 times to finish at zero. From the example we can conclude that you can only make money if you know the probabilities, in any other case just luck.

After learning about the practical application of probabilities, it is time to learn how the knowledge of probability can be used in poker. The first step is to learn how to calculate it.

In poker, the probability of each hand of 5 cards can be calculated by calculating the proportion of hands of this type among all possible hands.

The number of possible combinations in handing out 5 out of 52 poker cards is 2,598,960.

The number of possible combinations in races is shown in the table below:

 

Hand Number of Ways Probability
Straight flush 40 .000015
Four of a kind 624 .000240
Full house 3,745 .001441
Flush 5,108 .001965
Straight 10,200 .003925
Three of a kind 54,912 .021129
Two pair 123,552 .047539
One pair 1,098,240 .422569

 

Bet Sizing

 

If you decide to bet, it is very important to wager the right amount. The most important thing to know is that the size of a bet is measured relative to the pot: all players should be aware of how big the pot is so that they know how much they stand to win for continuing with their hand. 

If you bet $10 into a pot that only stands at $5, you are risking a lot to gain a little. It is a huge bet. On the other hand, if you bet $100 into a pot that is already at $1,000, the bet is tiny compared with the pot.

Although fashions in bet sizing are always changing, and advanced players have different reasons for betting different sizes, the following are widely accepted definitions: 

  • Small bet: about half the pot.
  • Medium sized bet: between half and three quarters of the pot.
  • Large bet: more than three quarters of the pot.

This applies in cash games or tournaments. In the former, the pot will be real money, while in the latter it will comprise tournament chips. But the general guidelines apply in both instances.

 

Table Position

 

Good poker players are obsessed with “position” – specifically, their position relative to the dealer button during any hand of play. The dealer button not only determines which players post the two blinds (in the two seats immediately left of the button), but also the order of the action on all subsequent betting rounds.

Action in poker moves clockwise, away from the dealer. The player to the dealer's immediate left acts first and betting progresses all the way round the table until it reaches the dealer again.

It follows that it is always best to be the dealer. On most of the betting rounds (and all of those post-flop) the dealer is the last person to act, which means he or she has been able to accrue the most information on the strength of the other players' hands.

If the opponents have all shown weakness, by checking for example, the dealer can bet and expect to pick up small pots. If any of the opponents have shown strength, with big bets or raises, the dealer can fold and lose the minimum from weaker hands.

Playing strategy alters depending on table position, with a nine-handed table being divided into early, middle and late position.

Early Position

Players in the two blind seats – the small blind (SB) and the big blind (BB) – are considered to be in “early position”. Likewise the players in the two seats immediately to the left of the big blind.

The first of these, immediately to the left of the big blind, is said to be “under the gun” (UTG) because this player is the first to act in the pre-flop betting round and has no information at all on what his opponents intend to do. The player to his left, also in early position, is UTG+1.

Players in early position need to have extremely strong hands to enter a pot. They will be forced to act earliest and will have minimal information from their opponents.

 

Middle Position

“Middle position” (MP) is defined as those seats between the player UTG+1 and the seat to the the dealer's immediate right. Players in middle position can have marginally looser starting hand requirements than those in early position because there are fewer players to their left to act behind them. 

However it is still risky to enter a pot from this position as the players in later position will have an advantage.

Late Position

“Late position” is by far the strongest position to be. The seat to the immediate right of the dealer is known as the “cut off” (CO). The dealer is said to be “on the button” (BTN).

These are the best seats to have because you can see all the action ahead and can gather the most information. It follows that you can have significantly weaker holdings in these positions because you have the best opportunity to judge the strength of the hands you are facing.

 

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