Odds and Probabilities - Pt 2
During this years World
Series Of Poker, my diary documented what
I thought was a slightly higher than
average amount of times, that I ran into
Aces whilst holding Kings. Typically,
having waited 5 hours for a major hand to
come along, this can be one of the most
demoralising situations in NLH
tournaments. Last month, I also made the
final six of the biggest event on the
European Tour: the WPT event at the
Aviation Club on the Champs Elysee With 6
players left, and the ESPN cameras
rolling, I picked up K,K on Surinder
Sunars Big Blind. He sat there with A,A
and duly doubled up. Being one of the
greatest players of all time, he then
proceeded to take the 600,000 euro first
prize. But I felt I gave him the lift up
that he needed, just at the right time.
So I thought I would
churn over the grey matter, and calculate
the odds of walking into this
confrontation. It's strange, but this is
one statistic I have never seen printed
One often published poker statistic is
- It is 16-1 that you will be dealt a
poker pair (go to the back of the
classroom if you assumed it was 12-1),
- It is 220-1 that you will be dealt
any specific pair, such as Aces. (I
know it can often feel like it is a
lot longer odds than that!)
| So when you are holding
any indiscriminate hand (such as Kings, or
7,2) it is 220-1 that any one of your
opponents has Aces. Heads up, it is 220-1.
In a six handed WPT final in Paris, it is
220-1 divided by 5 opponents: 44-1. Not an
unlucky coup at all! Again, although this
probability may be interesting for those of
us with dull lives, its usefulness is
debatable. It will be a rainy day on the
moon before I pass kings pre-flop.
(Super-satellites excepted of course!)
| A more useful statistic
is that K,K is only a 2-1 favourite against
A,K. The warning signs are there. An even
much more useful statistic is an Ace will
flop 23% of the time.
|So, if you get cute with
pre-flop Kings, the flop will kill your
action almost a quarter of the time. The
major dangers of slow playing Kings though,
- An opponent with a pocket pair is
about 15/2 to flop a set (or quads.)
- Fortunately an opponent with two odd
cards is almost 40-1 to flop 2 pair.
They may also have straight and/or flush
| If your opponent flops a set
on a low broken flop, he may well bust you!
Early in NLH tournaments especially, you can
make a little from pocket Kings, but quiet
easily lose your whole stack.
|The biggest crime though, is
pocket Queens. I often see top players
smooth call a pre-flop raise with this hand.
I don't know if they are trying to outplay
their opponents on the flop, or are just
scared of pocket Kings or Aces. Personally,
I think this is suicidal or at least a
criminal waste of a good hand. I will always
re-raise and try and get my whole stack in
the middle before the flop.
- As discussed earlier, the odds on
pocket Kings or Aces being out there are
variable depending on the number of
dealt hands. The odds will be at least
12-1 on a full table though.
- Again this article has already
outlined the dangers of a small pair
|More importantly though, the
probabilities that an Ace or a King will
flop is 43% of the time.
An Ace or a King on the flop obviously kills
your action, prevents you from winning a
much bigger pot, and often leads to you
losing a medium sized one.
It's often best to keep the game simple.
Just stick the whole stack in, and cross