Coin Flips

zachvac

zachvac

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So in poker we've all heard the term coin flips. Basically 2 overs vs. a lower pocket pair is considered a coin flip, and anything with 50% + or - 5 is considered a coin flip. But we also know that the way we make money in poker is exploiting a small edge over time. AKo vs. QQ is 43.242% to win. Let's say you're playing in a $1/$2 game and you end up all-in. You see the situation and figure it's a coin flip. But you were probably sitting on around $200. On average in that situation you lose $27.032. Play that again and again and it will begin to add up to hundreds of dollars.

The edge in poker is very small. You are flipping a slightly weighted coin thousands and tens of thousands of times (probably millions if you play professionally) and these situations don't come up all that often, but am I the only one thinking it's odd to round that far in a game where the edge is so small?
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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A couple of things you need to take into consideration:

1. When playing a small/medium pair you don't always know if your opponent has a bigger pair or a big ace (where you are a slight fav). Thus, you need to make your calculations based on their range, not a specific hand. For example, if you think your opponent has either AT+ (64 ways to make these hands @ 16 ways each) or a pair (72 ways to make bigger pairs @ six ways each) and you have 22, then you really can't exploit the fact that you are a favorite over the big aces.

2. Also, you reasoning works better for cash games than tournaments, as you have to consider your real money equity (vs. your chip equity) when deciding to play a hand in a tournament. In other words, if you lose your stack in a tournament you are out, and have zero actual equity. So you may want to find a situation where your "chip equity" is a lot better than 5%, since losing this race can end your chance for actual dollars. If you can "pick your spots" where you get the money in as a 70% or better favorite instead of a 5% favorite you will be better off long term.
 
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Bentheman87

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QQ interferes with some of the straight possibilities of AK thats why it seems like a lot less of a coinflip. If you have a much smaller pair, like 88 vs AK offsuit, it's up to 55 - 45. And if you take AK offsuit vs a very small pair like 44, AK's winning chances go up to 46%, since there's a decent chance the AK can win without hitting an ace or king, the board could pair twice and the 44 would be counterfeited. Also, if you take Jack ten offsuit vs 55, you'll see it's exactly a coinflip, 50-50 since jack ten has a better chance of making a straight than AK.

Topic creator, you probably just see the big hands clash often, AK vs JJ or AK vs QQ, where the pair is better than 50% to win, but remember, a coinflip situations is any two overcards vs any pair, so try putting other hands like 66 vs 7 9 into a poker calculator and you'll see it's a lot closer to 50-50.
 
zachvac

zachvac

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QQ interferes with some of the straight possibilities of AK thats why it seems like a lot less of a coinflip. If you have a much smaller pair, like 88 vs AK offsuit, it's up to 55 - 45. And if you take AK offsuit vs a very small pair like 44, AK's winning chances go up to 46%, since there's a decent chance the AK can win without hitting an ace or king, the board could pair twice and the 44 would be counterfeited. Also, if you take Jack ten offsuit vs 55, you'll see it's exactly a coinflip, 50-50 since jack ten has a better chance of making a straight than AK.

Topic creator, you probably just see the big hands clash often, AK vs JJ or AK vs QQ, where the pair is better than 50% to win, but remember, a coinflip situations is any two overcards vs any pair, so try putting other hands like 66 vs 7 9 into a poker calculator and you'll see it's a lot closer to 50-50.

No, I realize this, and I understand calling like 66 vs. 79 a coin flip, but then again, even this is 51-49. My point is that poker is all about exploiting the small edges over the long run. How often to you hear someone with AK say "well unless they have aces or kings then I'm way ahead or it's a coin flip".

I just don't even see how you can discount 1%. I believe someone posted a thread awhile back and concluded that the edge the pros have over the people they play against (it was calculated using BB/100) was around 1% (forget if it was over or under). So how can we discount an edge that is equal to the edge a pro has? That's what I'm trying to get at.
 
Goldog

Goldog

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Often the other money (blinds) in the pot will cover the deficit, which could make folding wrong if you knew the cards.
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

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Or you could just outplay them and get them to put money in the pot when they're drawing dead...

Sure, preflop, the edge is in your favor. However, there'd be so much variance in playing "coin flip" type hands, you'd have to play for such a long time to see real profit.

Even when the edge is 70:30, you're still going to run into a lot of variance. If we all played 1 million hands a day, and had mega-deep bankrolls, then sure, that 5% edge might play a factor. But since all in situations like that (at least for me) occur only 4-5 times a night at most, I don't think I play enough to eventually see that small edge pay off.
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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No, I realize this, and I understand calling like 66 vs. 79 a coin flip, but then again, even this is 51-49. My point is that poker is all about exploiting the small edges over the long run. How often to you hear someone with AK say "well unless they have aces or kings then I'm way ahead or it's a coin flip".

I just don't even see how you can discount 1%. I believe someone posted a thread awhile back and concluded that the edge the pros have over the people they play against (it was calculated using BB/100) was around 1% (forget if it was over or under). So how can we discount an edge that is equal to the edge a pro has? That's what I'm trying to get at.

The point of saying this is yes they are a slight underdog in a coinflip situation against pocket pairs but very often you will be up against a hand you dominate like AQ, AJ or KQ that it pushes the edge towards you in the short term and long term. When you have AK against a shove you aren't always going against a pocket pair. So in most cases, unless you are pretty sure you opponent will only push with a pocket pair, you will be the favorite against his range.

So if you call an all-in with AK you may very well end up in a coin flip but not always some of the times you will be a big favorite.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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small edges are much more important in cash games (AKo vs QQ loses money over time AIPF) than they are in MTTs because variance in MTTs has much more of an effect on your potential earnings
 
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switch0723

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it depends what overcards and pairs are used. Im sure i read somewhere that 7,8 suited is favourite over pock 2's
 
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