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Expected Value and Pot Equity

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  • Expected Value and Pot Equity

    Hi all, I play mainly $1/$2 50bb Buyin or $1/$3 100bb Buyin Live Cash Games. I have been a breakeven/losing player for the past 15 months now. I feel like a play very well for a large portion of my sessions but then let myself down with making some large -EV decisions which I feel is my biggest leak, so I have recently been reading up on this subject.

    I would like to start by using the 4/2 rule but am unsure what to do on the flop when faced with calling a bet, do you only use the 2 part of the rule unless All In and then apply the 4 rule? So if i have a flush draw with 9 outs on the flop is my equity only 18% at this point? So if the pot is $30 and I have to call $10 on the flop this would give a pot equity of 25% but I only have 18% winning equity so I should fold, correct?

  • #2
    I feel you may not be thinking about equity and EV correctly although I gather what you're asking. Equity represents the percentage of the pot that belongs to you. Typically your specific hand will have more equity than only you're direct odds to hit your draw. For example maybe you have the nut flush draw but your A high is actually good. Best way to learn the equities of different combos and ranges is by messing around with Equilab or Flopzilla.

    EV is normally used to quantify the value of a certain play and most commonly when discussing all in situations. You can calculate the EV of calling an all in or shoving all in with some basic math and estimating villains range. Here's a simple EV calculator

    Within a hand it may be the case that raising has a higher EV than calling but this is something only solvers are able to calculate to my knowledge.

    In the most general sense you want your equity to exceed the odds laid. Pot is 100 and villain bets 50. Your odds are 3:1 or 25%. You want to continue if your hand has at least 25% equity. However when drawing to a hand you must also consider implied odds which accounts for money you stand to win on later streets if you hit your draw.

    This article may help
    Last edited by MrFuss; 10-03-2019, 11:49 PM.


    • #3
      Okay. there are multiple things going on here. Please see MrFuss post about Equity vs EV, but the 4/2 rule is an estimate of how much equity you have in the pot. Let's take your example where you have AhQh and the Flop comes Th4h3c the 4/2 rule states that you take (# of outs)*4 on the flop so you would take 9*4= 36% equity, now the turn comes 8s
      now the 4/2 rule states on the turn you take (# of outs) *2 so you would have (9 outs * 2) = 18%.

      But there is a problem with this method, and I do not believe that you should use it, because you're not going to be playing against the villain's hand you're playing against the villain's range. You may already have the best hand, and now how do you calculate that? Well, this is done by counting the number of combos in his range that you win against plus the "outs" that come on the river.

      I personally cannot do this at the table, that quick with it takes practice and dedication to do. I think a good way to practice is using the tool that MrFuss suggested Equilab or Flopzilla. Create scenarios in your head and try to quiz your self on them. You'll get there!

      Oh, and do the homework! it will help a lot.


      • LondonImp
        LondonImp commented
        Editing a comment
        I disagree with your comment 'I do not believe that you should use it'.

        It's an important concept to be able to understand and to apply. Of course we need to be thinking about our opponents' ranges, but there are certainly lots of times when 4/2 is very useful and to not implement it would be leaving a gap in your holistic appreciation of the game.

      • jamtay317
        jamtay317 commented
        Editing a comment
        @LondinImp I agree with what you're saying, I think maybe I misspoke. It could be helpful, but studying the ranges vs different flops is in my eyes much more important.

    • #4


      • #5
        Thanks for the feeback guys.