Players' Equity in Poker

First of all let give a clear definition of the term. What is Equity? Equity in Poker is a value the player can get on average in a long run of the game according to his personal chances to get the pot.

The Real-life Example of Counting the Equity

For instance, the pot is 10$ and a player has 50% of possibilities to win the pot, it means that his equity is 5$, that is 50% from 10$’ pot. In the long run, in case such situation repeats over and over again according to the law of large numbers effect, the player will actually receive an average $5 from each pot played.

Actually, the term equity is tightly connected to another extremely important term in poker, the Expected Value, which is the player’s expectation shown by means of using the mathematical side of it. To make it clearer, an expected value (EV) is a mathematical expectation which shows either positive or negative results expectation, which is winning or losing a pot in a concrete situation in each variant of game’s progression.

Expected progress is calculated by means of summing the products of each probabilities of the game on their respective expected payoffs.

Unlike the odds and pot-odds (which are particularly needed to understand whether or not it is justified to stay in the game or if there is a possibility to improve a hand), with the help of counting the equity one can define the profitability of each step in the game along with defining which step has the highest equity, the best expected progress and the highest average payoff in every concrete situation by means of modeling or calculations.

The Main Idea

The main idea here is to avoid the measurement categories as a difference between the draw and the readymade hand; one should look at his hand only from the probability point of view. The hand with high probability of winning (notwithstanding the fact whether this hand is finished or needs some additional cards to make a winning combination, in this situation is not considered to be the winning one yet), gets the high share of the pot according to the equity evaluation along with mathematically expected progress.

Example During the Game

Let us view this theory on a certain example during Texas Hold’em.

  • The player 1 holds a pair of Aces
  • The player 2 holds 8 and 9 spades
  • The Flop is 7,6 spades and 8 hearts

At a first glance a player №1 holds the best cards, and in case of the immediate showdown he would win the pot. Thus, in this certain situation, the player №2 has the edge. Because, the probability to have the best combination after the river is dealt is 66%, while the probability to win for the player №1 is only 34%. The best decision for the player №2 here is to raise as he has already have 66% of the final pot. He has a strong hand that’s why he has to raise as much as possible even play all-in to maximize the final amount in the pot.

The counting of the best step in the described situation was compared to the game’s progress and as a result the mathematical expectation for different actions, which a player №2 can make.

The step with the highest mathematical expectation is considered the most profitable.

Though, this information will probably make a rather confusing impression on a beginner in poker, the professional poker players who are used to counting the probabilities using mathematical point of view will certainly find this information rather useful. However we wish you good luck in poker games!

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