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An Introduction to Poker Odds Calculators
Knowing the true odds in a poker-playing situation will often make you rethink the way you play a hand. Most players use intuition, and are often quite good at doing this, to guess what the odds are and therefore how to play a hand. However there is a more exact (although less practical) way to determine odds and that is with poker odds calculators. These can be found at many places on the Internet, downloadable or Internet based, and for free or for sale. In this article I will be using the Free Online Poker Odds Calculators that I have developed to demonstrate the basic principles behind their use.
Hand Odds Calculators
This group of poker odds calculators allows players to enter the player and board cards, hit a "Calculate" button and have the results displayed about how often each player will win, tie or lose. These poker odds calculators can be found for all types of games from Texas Holdem to Draw Poker. Free online examples of these calculators are Texas Holdem Odds Calculator and Omaha Odds Calculator. Use these to get a feel to how certain hands fare against each other. Quite often you will be surprised that your intuition does not correspond to the true odds - for example in Texas Holdem Ace/King suited is only a 50/50 chance against a pair of twos before the flop.
The shortcomings of these types of odds calculators are that they assume a player will not fold and extra money that may be added in future betting rounds.
Tournament Equity Calculator
Tournaments are a form of poker where players start with an equal amount of chips and continue playing until one player has all the chips. Prizes may be paid for multiple places, the number depending on the event. A question that is quite often asked is "Given the amount of chips each player holds at a certain point in a tournament, how much prize money on average should each player win?� This is where a tournament equity calculator comes in (see Poker Tournament Equity Calculator for an example).
A valuable fact that is learnt from this type of odds calculator is that the value of chips decrease as the player gains more chips. For example doubling the amount of chips a player has increases that player's equity less than double. This would mean that in tournaments you should fold more often than in cash game, especially with marginal hands. If you play a lot of single table tournaments, Party Poker SnG tournaments like I do for example, you will find many situations where a tournament equity calculator can help point to the right play. This is particularly true as you get close to the prize money or "bubble".
The limitations of these types of calculators are that they usually assume equal skill levels and disregard the size and position of the blinds.
Poker odds calculators can be a very helpful resource in the arsenal of serious poker players. However one must take care not to overemphasize the results given and to realize the assumptions and limitations of these calculators.
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