Poker can be quite complicated for beginners to learn, as there are a lot of different terms and strategies to remember. One term that often causes confusion among beginners is equity. It’s frequently used when describing poker strategy, and it’s an important one to know. In poker, equity is your share of the pot based on the winning chance of your hand.
Understanding equity and why it’s important is key to getting good at the game and finding success. Although it’s possible to win without knowing what equity is, your rate of success improves when you know more about the game and its mathematical concepts.
What is Poker Equity
Poker equity is how you figure out the true value of a pot when playing poker online. You look at the pot’s real value and your chance of winning that pot. As an example, let’s say the pot has $200 worth of chips in it. Meanwhile, you have a hand that gives you a 50% chance of success. In this example, your equity is $100.
This means that if you play that same situation out over 100 times, you can expect to win $100. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll win $100 on that particular hand. You could lose, or you could win $200. It’s also worth noting that the equity is only true if no more actions are made.
Equity is often known simply as value. When you hear players talking about the value of their hands, this is usually what they mean. You’re looking to play hands that give you favorable value. Over time, this will mean you win greater profits.
Why Equity Matters
Poker is a game based on math, and whether you like it or not, math skills are required to be successful. Understanding probability is key to understanding poker, and equity is a major part of that. You use equity to work out whether or not a specific action will be profitable. As you want to make money playing poker rather than losing it, you only ever make decisions that will be profitable in the long run.
Determining value will allow you to make better decisions when choosing to play aggressively, calling a potential bluff, or playing a hand. You can use the equity calculation to work out what chance you have of success when playing the hand you currently have and whether or not it’s worth bluffing.
Bear in mind that just because your equity is good, it doesn’t mean you’ll win the hand. It’s possible to lose while playing value, but over time you’ll be in profit. Make sure you get enough practice and ensure you know how to calculate equity during a game.
How to Calculate Poker Equity
The above example using a $200 pot with a 50% chance of winning it really easy to calculate, but determining the percentage chance of your hand to win is much harder. It’s also usually a lot more complicated in real life, and you’ll need to be able to make calculations quickly.
While it is possible to calculate these in your head, you’ll need a lot of experience and practice. Most online poker players, especially beginners, are more likely to use an online calculator. This is especially helpful on the pre-flop and flop, as it’s harder to calculate equity due to the larger number of variables.
For the turn and river, it’s much simpler to calculate poker equity, and you can do it in your head. The key is knowing how many outs for your hand. An out is any card that, if drawn, will improve your hand to one that has a good chance of winning. You know how many cards are left in the deck, and you’ll know your opponent’s range. Working out your equity is as simple as looking at which cards you need to beat your opponent’s highest range and then calculating the probability of that.