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Tough player or not? Poker equity applied to strategy and the 4/2 rule.

Understanding what equity is, being able to calculate the number of outs that remain and better still the percentage odds you have of winning with the hand that you hold can really give you a big advantage in NL Hold'em.  So first of all, what is poker equity and how can you apply the knowledge to your strategy?

According to cardschat.com equity in poker is 'the shape of the pot that is yours based on the odds that you will win the pot at that point in play.  Equity changes after every street - pre flop - flop - turn and river.'  'Pot equity is worked out using simple maths to calculate the chances of winning in a showdown.  While fold equity enables players to work out the likelihood of causing an opponent to fold.'

If we can quickly calculate the odds on each street we play with the holdings we've got, we can thus work out whether to raise, call or fold and thereby maximising our profits and minimising our losses.

Cardschat.com also suggest that 'poker strategy around poker equity is pretty simple. If you feel you have more equity in the pot than your opponent (you have the better hand at the moment) then you generally want to bet, for a couple of reasons;

- betting will make players with weaker holdings fold

- if they call, betting grows the pot, making your equity work a lot more.


In general, the player with more equity is usually ahead in the hand, however there are times when you may be behind, but still have more equity.

cardschat.com give the following example;

3 players go to the flop.  You are the last to act and have 10 ♠️ 9 ♠️.  Player 1 has A ♥️ 8 ♥️ and player 2 has Q ♣️ Q 💎.

The flop comes up 8 ♠️ 7 ♥️ 2 ♠️.

Player 1 has a pair of eights (not to mention a backdoor nut flush draw) and player 2 has a pair of QQs.

Your combined Open-ended straight draw and flush draw actually gives you more equity than your opponents even though you would lose at this point.  Still, you are a 56% favourite to win the hand.  Player 2 is at 28.46% and player 1 is at 15.50%!

As a guide, Owen Gaines in 'Poker Maths that Matters' provides an excellent way of calculating your equity of holding hands on each street using a 4/2 rule.

'Remember we defined an out as a card that can come on a future street (s) that can give you the best hand. We learned how to count outs. Counting outs gives us an easy way to estimate equity. There's a rule called the 4/2 rule. Here's how it goes. If you are on the flop and going to both see the turn and the river (like if you get all the money on the flop) you can multiply your outs by four for an estimate of your equity. If you are on the turn, you can multiply your outs by two for an estimate of your equity.'

For example, Take four outs and multiply two times and get an estimate 8% on the turn.


Here we have 8 outs. As it's on the flop we times 8 by 4 and get 32%


With AA (and a set on the turn) with 65 ♥️ we have 8 outs, so that's 8 x 2 giving us 16% (not totally accurate but that may be due to the fact the opponent has such a strong holding here.)


Before looking at the illustrations below can you figure out the odds?

HERO: 8 ♣️ 9 ♣️ 

VILLAIN: A ♣️ J ♥️ 

Flop is: 7 💎 8 💎 2 ♠️ 

Flop is: 7 💎 8 💎 2 ♠️

Turn: A ♠️ 

What are your odds in percentages now?

Thanks for reading - hope you will find this post useful 👌

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I have been playing poker for about 15 years. I play online currently and I've played poker in casinos, card rooms, local games and with friends. I play NL hold'em tournaments and cash games and can also play Pot Limit Omaha, a game I also love.
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Nemoruso17 user
User's aura Nemoruso17 1732

Nice post bro🤙

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