Can someone explain pot odds vs equity vs EV to me as if I'm a hyperactive 5 Year Old

CaraDune

CaraDune

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Guys. This is the most frustrating thing.

Because you wanna talk string theory? Dark matter distribution in disc galaxies? Pretty much every known Neolithic to Bronze Age culture in the Near East/Middle East/Mesopotamian/Aegean regions? Why a Hellcat beats a Shelby 10 times out of 10? (Answer: because it's sexier and more fun to drive, full stop. Unless you race professionally, none of the small advantages of the Shelby make that much of a difference, and the pony is even more of a gas guzzler than the Cat. The Cat is wild and impractical and sexy and gorgeous and I fully admit that I would leave my husband for the parent at our kid's school who routinely shows up in car loop in their Demon. Just the sound of it idling in car loop... does things... to me. Don't care who they are or what they look like, I would do shameful things for that car).

What was I saying?

Right. The point is that I consider myself a reasonably intelligent human, capable of grasping a wide variety of complex concepts.

But this goes so far over my head, it's embarrassing. I'm serious, I don't even have a super firm understanding of the difference between those things. Much less how to use that to determine when I should fold/check/raise.

Even the "super simple" articles are over my head.

I feel like I've got a solid preflop strategy, and have all those range charts memorized, for every position. When playing online, I'm confident in my ability to adjust those decisions based on my opponents and the vibe of the table.

Once that flop hits, though, I get this giant neon sign above my head, flashing, "I'm a fish with no clue what I'm doing, come take my money!"

Tl;dr:

Please, someone get out their crayons and explain this to me as if you're teaching it to a class full of hyperactive kindergarteners. Because I'm so ungodly frustrated at my inability to grasp it.
 
Tammy

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For some reason your post went into moderation. But all approved now - hope someone can help you out! :)
 
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scubed

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Can someone explain pot odds vs equity vs EV to me as if I'm a hyperactive 5 Year Old
I KNOW your pain! Poker is SO easy to learn to play (i.e. memorize pre-flop charts).. but so hard to understand WHY these concepts dictate the game (why we play those hands preflop).

I'll take a shot at answering... but no promises, I'm not a teacher of 5-year olds! :D

Pot odds: The amount you must call as a ratio to the amount in the pot. THEN convert the ratio to a% and compare to your % chance to win to understand if the call is a good one or not (that's the simple version without considering implied odds etc).
equity: If the hand ended RIGHT NOW how much % (portion) of the pot is yours. This changes on each street as the strength, therefore value, of your hand changes.
  • Upswing poker has some good stuff on this, Google it!
expected value: The amount of profit (or loss) that is expected on a given poker decision
  • Google "SplitSuit basics of poker ev"
An old school book "The theory of poker" by David Sklansky really helped me on all these things I wrote a thread reviewing the book study group style on CardChat. Check it out here https://www.cardschat.com/forum/learning-poker-57/back-books-theory-poker-sklansky-375355/
 
Highsolation

Highsolation

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I'll try to explain in a simple manner:

pot odds:
Think of it as risk:reward ratio.

How much money do I have to risk compared to how much money would you win.

For example: Pot is $900 before the river bet, and your opponent bets $100, so if you call here, you need to put $100. Since your opponent already put out the $100 bet, pot size is $1000, and you need to risk $100 in order to potentially win the $1000.
So here you are getting 10 to 1 pot odds. (1000 divided by 100). That means you have to risk 1 unit to win 10 units.


Equity:
You can see it as the percentage of you winning the pot at a certain moment.

For example, if you start your hand with AhAc, and your single opponent has 2h2s, you have 82,6% chance of winning that hand and your opponent has 16,8% of winning that hand, and there is 0,6% chance of the hand going to be a tie.

If the flop comes out 2c3c4c, your opponent has flopped a set which beats your current hand, but you have outs to a flush draw, a wheel draw and the two aces to have a better set, your hand now has 41% chances of winning, while your opponent has 57%.

The chance that you have of winning that hand is your equity, if there's $1000 in the pot pre-flop, you had $826 was theoretically yours, while after the flop, your equity decreased to only $410.

EV or Expected Value,
Means how much money a play is going to yield us in the long run.
There are +EV plays, which will net us profit in the long run, and -EV plays, which will lose us money in the long run.

EV = %WIN x $WIN - %LOSS x $LOSS

In the example above of AA vs 22, let's say there was $200 in blinds and ante, your opponent shove for $400, everyone folds and you call for $400.
Here you are risking $400 to win $600 ($200 pot + $400 bet).

Here your EV = 82.6% x $600 - 16.8% x 400 = $517.2 - $67.2 = $450
This means that your call here with AA should yield you $450 each time over the long run. (Because sometimes you'll lose the $400 you called with, sometimes you will win the $600, but over the long run, each time should yield you around 450 bucks).

One should look to make +EV plays so that in the long run, it will show us profit.

If there is any question you have, please let me know so I can explain better.
 
Tracid

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Guys. This is the most frustrating thing.

Because you wanna talk string theory? Dark matter distribution in disc galaxies? Pretty much every known Neolithic to Bronze Age culture in the Near East/Middle East/Mesopotamian/Aegean regions? Why a Hellcat beats a Shelby 10 times out of 10? (Answer: because it's sexier and more fun to drive, full stop. Unless you race professionally, none of the small advantages of the Shelby make that much of a difference, and the pony is even more of a gas guzzler than the Cat. The Cat is wild and impractical and sexy and gorgeous and I fully admit that I would leave my husband for the parent at our kid's school who routinely shows up in car loop in their Demon. Just the sound of it idling in car loop... does things... to me. Don't care who they are or what they look like, I would do shameful things for that car).

What was I saying?

Right. The point is that I consider myself a reasonably intelligent human, capable of grasping a wide variety of complex concepts.

But this goes so far over my head, it's embarrassing. I'm serious, I don't even have a super firm understanding of the difference between those things. Much less how to use that to determine when I should fold/check/raise.

Even the "super simple" articles are over my head.

I feel like I've got a solid preflop strategy, and have all those range charts memorized, for every position. When playing online, I'm confident in my ability to adjust those decisions based on my opponents and the vibe of the table.

Once that flop hits, though, I get this giant neon sign above my head, flashing, "I'm a fish with no clue what I'm doing, come take my money!"

Tl;dr:

Please, someone get out their crayons and explain this to me as if you're teaching it to a class full of hyperactive kindergarteners. Because I'm so ungodly frustrated at my inability to grasp it.
I find it difficult to believe that anyone could have a firm comprehension of string theory and dark matter distribution without being able to grasp at least the very basics of pot odds, equity, EV and their strategic implications*...

...and I find the thought that you'd be willing to fool around on your spouse purely based on an automobile concerning! :hmpf:

That being said, with my previous indiscretions (before I knew better) I'm hardly one to talk!

In summary, I don't think the concepts you are requesting to being reduced into simplification are such which almost any five year old would be able to consciously appreciate or have interest in, even toddler Einstein would probably be far more intrigued by bugs and ducks.

With all this having been said, you have two very lucid explanations above, the only thing you're perhaps now missing is how to use these percentages and probabilities and transform them into principles and practices.

*I think the disconnect here might be the strategy element of the whole enchilada have you read any of Sun Tzu's 'The art of war' at all? I guess there's a chance if you've been focused on
Neolithic to Bronze Age culture in the Near East/Middle East/Mesopotamian/Aegean regions
you might have missed it insofar.

All the best and good luck with your quest for poker knowledge! :)
 
NWPatriot

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There are already a couple good explanations and links to a couple articles. I thought I would pile on, since I also get frustrated with some of the poker world's usage of the terms. Let me try a couple things. (These concepts may not apply to the 5th grade level, but that isn't my fault.)

Pot odds: Unfortunately the poker world calls something as odds, yet they state it in a % form. Huh??? If we have to call a 200 chip bet to win 600 chips (400 pot + a 200 chip bet into us), then we have 3:1 odds on our money. But... the poker community converts this into an equivalent % of time we need to win, which becomes 25% . They call this converted number pot odds, but it is really something else, it is more like Minimum Call Equity (MCE) (a term I invented because I don't like calling something odds that is a %).

Equity: Once again, the poker world takes a term we might be familiar with if we own a home, and twists it up a little bit. Your $200,000 home that has a $150,000 mortgage on it, is said to have $50,000 equity. We hardly ever hear anyone say they have 25% equity in their home, though it would not be wrong to say so. Poker equity is generally stated as a % probability that we will win the pot. So why don't we use the term probability instead of misusing the term equity. Well because equity is only 3 syllables long and the other one is a massive 5 syllables. Hmmm. Maybe that is not why, after all.

EV (expected value): EV calculations can get quite complex, but they are basically pokers decision making formula - we want to know which of our current options have the highest value. This is just an extension of our equity, but considers the pot, the bet, or call, and possibly futures raises. We can convert the pot odds example to EV expressions and see if we should call or fold. The MCE term already says we just need more than 25% equity to make the call. EV would take the situation and tell us what our average expected value in chips would be if all of our assumptions are correct. Call EV is to win 600 chips 75% of the time (600x0.75=450) and lose our 200 chip call 25% of the time (-200x0.25), for an EV of +400 chips (450 - 50 = 400). If we fold we have 0EV, because we risk nothing. In this case it is clear that calling has more EV than folding, so we should call. (Note: This is a singular decision EV, and if we want to be profitable, we have to ensure that we have enough EV to pay for all the other previous decisions in the hand - we will get to this in the 9th grade.)

Good luck and I hope this helps. God bless.
 
CaraDune

CaraDune

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Thank you everyone for your replies! I appreciate your help.

[/LIST]Equity: If the hand ended RIGHT NOW how much % (portion) of the pot is yours. This changes on each street...

That helped a lot. The "RIGHT NOW" was something I was having trouble making a connection with, but that clicked.

I appreciate the examples from everyone, but I think part of my issue is that the examples are simplified, which makes perfect sense to present simple examples to teach a concept, but the concepts simplified to the point that I struggle to apply them to real life scenarios.

So let's see if I've got it right, using the hand I literally just played online.

I'm the CO in a 9 person microstakes game, with 1-cent/2-cent blinds. I have AhJs.

UTG folds. UTG1 folds. UTG2 limps, LJ and HJ call.

I call.

Button folds, sb calls, bb checks.

The pot is 12 cents.

The flop is 2d8hTh.

Blinds check, UTG2 raises 4 cents. LJ calls. HJ calls.

Now the pot is 24 cents. I have to call 4 cents to stay in.

I have a nut backdoor flush draw, but nothing else, and I haven't missed the potential straight draw my opponents might have.

I have 6 outs for the pairs. And I read somewhere that I have a 4% chance of hitting the flush draw. So that combined with the outs for pairs is... 19-ish%?

Compared to the equity, I have to bet 4 cents to win 24. That's what, 16%?

My odds to win are higher than the percentage I have to pay to stay in, right? So I call?

Is that right? And then I repeat the process after the turn, with adjusted odds and equity depending on which card it is?

How does position factor in? Since the button folded, I have the best position, does that matter in my decision whether to call or fold?

And somewhat related question, how do I do all of those calculations in my head, in 30 seconds or less? Figuring out the percentages is all well and good when I can study each hand with a calculator, but what do I do when I'm in a game and it's my turn and I have to make a decision faster than that? Is it just one of those things you can only get through experience, eventually getting a feel for each hand's odds and equity? Or is there a simpler way to apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios, when I'm sitting at the table in a hand?
 
Highsolation

Highsolation

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CaraDune,
So the situation you are posting is indeed more complicated than the simple excercises, and I'll try to do my best help.

First of all, you have to try to put your opponents to a range of hands that you think they could have.
Could someone have a set? Not very likely as they didn't raise neither pre-flop nor post flop, they all flatted the 1/3 pot size bet from UTG2.
What about two pairs? Not very likely as betting pattern is weak from my point of view, on a somewhat coordinated board, having two pairs one would bet a little bit larger to have more protection.
So what could they have? I'd say they might have hands in the form of straight draw, possible flush draw and also top pair or second pair.

You holding AhJs on a 2d8hTh board, I would only count aces as immediate outs, as a jack could likely give one of your opponents the straight if they hold Q9 or 79. So that yields you around 12% equity on that spot. I suggest you download Equilab and assign possible ranges to your opponents and see fro there how you fare against a range of hands.
You do have the backdoor nut flush draw, but I think that's somewhat risky to consider, as it's more likely that you see only 1 more heart, and that would give your opponent the flush.

For your reasoning behind pot odds vs equity, it's correctly done, but I think you should do this when there's no future betting, I'm no expert there so if someone else can help us out, that'd be great. When there is future betting, you should use implied odds instead.

To estimate %'s fast, you can use the x4 & x2 rule. Let's say you have a flush draw, that's 9 outs, and you can estimate your % by multiplying your outs x4 when there's 2 cards to come. So after the flop you would have around 36% chance of hitting, when the real % is about 35%. When there is only one card to come, you just multiply your outs x2, which would give you 18% equity, and in reality the % of hitting is around 19%.
For a open ended straight draw, applying the x4 x2 rule for 8 outs gives you 32% after the flop and 16% after the turn, and in reality the chances are 31,5% and 17,4%.
Although the x4 x2 rule is not 100% accurate, gives you a good idea of where you stand.

On online poker you can definitely use the x4 x2 rule to speed up your calculations.

Please let me know if I'm explaining myself good enough, and if there's anything I can offer to help you understand better.
 
NWPatriot

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This stuff gests complicated very quickly, as you have illustrated. We can simplify and find some easy steps, but in the end, we just need time with the game.
.....My odds to win are higher than the percentage I have to pay to stay in, right? So I call? Is that right? And then I repeat the process after the turn, with adjusted odds and equity depending on which card it is?....

You have 6:1 pot odds to call, so your MCE is correct at 16.7%. Since you still have 5 other players in the hand, your equity is probably closer to about 10%. Equilab is a great free tool for seeing how equity plays out in real hands, and it also has an equity trainer that can be very useful for testing your equity estimation skills.

"Highsolution" was correct about using the "rule of 4 and 2" for quick and easy approximations of the probability to hit those cards. The key here though, is to ensure you appropriately count the outs that will win the hand and use caution with your outs that will only improve your hand but still have a loser. This is tough work. Some folks use the rule of 4 and 2 and call it equity, but I beg to differ. It is only the probability that you will hit your card. It is not the same as probability to win the hand (equity).

For me, with complete air on the flop and 5 players in the hand, I would make the fold here. It is almost 100% assured someone hit at least a pair here with 5 players and their 10 cards.

.....How does position factor in? Since the button folded, I have the best position, does that matter in my decision whether to call or fold?....

Position is very important as you have more information than anyone else. In this case, that information is telling you you are a long shot to win this hand. Generally, you want to be a little more aggressive with your position, maybe bet preflop to get some of those 5 players to fold. Your situation will be quite a bit different against only one player with your AJ. You might have >40% equity against a single player.

....And somewhat related question, how do I do all of those calculations in my head, in 30 seconds or less? Figuring out the percentages is all well and good when I can study each hand with a calculator, but what do I do when I'm in a game and it's my turn and I have to make a decision faster than that? Is it just one of those things you can only get through experience, eventually getting a feel for each hand's odds and equity? Or is there a simpler way to apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios, when I'm sitting at the table in a hand?

Getting a feel for the game comes with practice and by using those calculators off the table. The rule of 4 and 2 is a great shortcut. And yes a backdoor straight or flush (where you need both the turn AND river to cooperate) results in the equivalent of about 1 out (this is where the 4% on the flop comes from). Discounting your equity when multiple players are in the pot is a huge factor that can't be ignored (you can almost divide your equity by the number of opponents for a quick estimate).

You don't need to sweat super accuracy here. You just want to be close enough to make a good decision.

Good luck and God bless.
 
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simmo5050

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Scubed's reply is what I would second THOUGH with the added comment that your equity in the hand is calculated v the RANGE of your opponent's hands (unless you are lucky enough to see what it is ).

Eg
- AK v a range of only AA,= c. 7%
- AK v AA-KK & AK = c 37%

So, to make a correct call against the first range, you would need pot odds of c. 13:1 (rare)

With AK v a range of AA-KK & AK, your pot odds need 'only'be around 1.5:1 (not unlikely in preflop raising situations 100bb deep ).
 
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