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Poker Equity (Pot Equity)

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Pot Equity

The odds of winning the pot, `Pot Equity´ or just `Poker Equity´, is a poker mathematical term which explains why you should bet or check in some situations.

What is equity in poker?

When we talk about equity we refer to the pot amount that `belongs´ to you depending on the odds you have of winning the hand in a particular time . Suppose there is a 60% chance for you to win, this means your equity in the hand is 60%.

Example of poker equity

Suppose you have ADiamond KDiamond preflop and you are certain your rival has JHeart TSpades, and there is $30 in the pot. If you revise these hands with an odds calculator, the result will be that you have a 65% chance of winning the hand, guessing that all the cards are dealt and that no player folds. So, your current pot equity is the 65% of $30, or, just $19.5.

This equity will change along the hand, because as the cards are dealt the strength and the potential of each hand will not be the same as well as player’s equity.

If the flop is JDiamond TClover 2Heart, there will be a dramatic change in your equity, because you no longer have the hand with the biggest chances of winning the pot. If you go over your hands with an odds calculator again, you will see that now we have a 22% possibility of winning, giving us equity of 22% of the amount currently in the pot.

Besides, if the turn comes QSpades giving us a straight, the odds of winning the hand by the river will increase dramatically, and our equity will change again. The odds calculator now shows that we have a 91% possibility of winning, while our opponent only has 9% of chances of winning, as he has to hit a J or a T to complete a full and take down the pot.

Where do these pot equity percentages come from?

In order to obtain these percentages, computer simulations are repeated from specific situations. In this way, we are able to estimate in a precise way the chances of winning a hand.

As a result, by entering in an odds calculator the combinations of a particular hand, it calculates the rest of the hand thousands of time and calculates how many times each hand wins. In this way it is able to offer a precise number concerning the probability of the hand prevailing. The odd that a hand wins in a particular situation is the same as the hand equity.

How to employ equity in poker

You may be wondering how to use the information you have about your chances of winning and the equity you have.

The answer is that it is not very likely that you know what you opponent has, which means that you can’t really calculate the equity while you are at the board and use it in your own benefit. On the other hand, the basis of equity and the equity you have in each pot in each stage of the hand provide an explanation to why you should bet your hands when you think you have the best one.

When you have the best hand in Poker Hold’em, what you are doing is betting for value when you have most of the equity in the hand.

Betting for value because of pot equity

For example, last example’s turn with ADiamond KDiamond against your opponent holding JHeart TSpades in a board with JDiamond TClover 2Heart QSpades, you had the nut straight and equity of 91%. That means that, per each extra dollar you manage to add to the pot, you will win 91 cents. So, it is logical if you try to add as much money in the pot as possible, and as a result you will be betting for value and trying to maximize the amount of money you will win with the hand.

In a situation in which you have more than 50% of equity, you want to put as much money as possible in the pot.

It may occur that the river is another J or T, and your opponent will have the better hand with a full, but at the turn when you have the 91% of the equity, that fact loses relevance. So, although the amount of money you can potentially lose increases when you try to get more money into the pot, you are also maximizing the amount of money you could win.

In the long term, you’ll be wining more money if you add more money into the pot holding the best hand at this moment (although there is still a chance of losing). If you believe you have the best hand, don’t be scared of adding more money into the pot.

The basis of equity in poker also provides an explanation to why you should raise before the flop holding the best hand; reasons to raise preflop include reducing the number of players in the pot, buying position, being the aggressor and so on.

However, the principle of equity is still the reason why raising preflop is profitable. It is not only because you are adding money with the best hand and so betting for value, but also because your raise will raise the stakes and create opportunities to add more money into the pot when you get a good equity in the pot later in the hand.

Poker equity evaluation

The concept of equity in poker is a basic principle related to poker mathematics which helps to explain the strategy of betting when you have the best hand. When you bet for value you are in fact increasing the amount of money you could win in each particular hand. If you stick to checking and folding when you have poor hands you will be able to reduce the amount of money you lose.

Calculating your equity in each situation is really difficult but it is good to remember that when you know for sure that you have the best hand you should try to add as much money as possible into the pot.

If you play casino games, you should know that equity always favors the house, so you will only lose money in the long term (unlike poker, where it is possible to win money every time). Be careful not to waste you money in casino games, because money is in Poker Texas Hold’em.

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