Winning at Texas hold’em – Is Knowing the odds of Any Value?

You’ve read the books and articles where the poker writers state the odds of making certain hands. For example: making an open end (outside) straight draw is 5 to 1, a flush draw is 4. 2 to 1, and a gutshot (inside) straight draw is 11 to 1. Playing Texas togel singapore hold’em there are many variations in the odds to be learned such as what’s the difference in the odds if the next card is the turn (4th card) or the river (5th card)?

But let’s look at the logic and math behind these calculations to determine if they are of any value to us as poker players. How are the odds of 5 to 1 calculated for an open end straight draw? To successfully complete the straight we need one of eight cards, four on either end of our four-card straight. How many cards remain unseen? We started with 52, 8 of them are useful to us and we see four of them in our partially completed straight. So, the experts say 52 minus 8 minus 4 leaves us with 40 unseen cards, which are of no value to us. Therefore 40 failures to 8 successes works out to 5 to 1 odds. And I say GARBAGE. Your actual odds could be much higher or much lower.

Let’s say you’re playing in a ring game with ten at the table. That means that twenty cards have been dealt plus three for the flop and one has been “burned” by the dealer. If all of the eight cards you need to complete a straight have already been dealt to other players, your chances of making your straight are ZERO, and your odds according to mathematicians are infinite. On the other hand, what happens if all of your eight cards remain in the pack the dealer is holding? The dealer holds 52 less 20 dealt to the players less 3 for the flop less 1 burned or 28 cards. So now calculate your odds: 20 cards that won’t help and 8 cards that will, which works out to 2. 5 to 1. Quite a difference! The Ascot strategy is an old-time roulette system for use on even bets, that is bets that pay one for one. Odds/evens, 1 through 18/19 through 36, and red/black pay even money at the roulette table. The Ascot system can be used for other casino games which have even money bets also, such as pass/don’t pass at craps, and banker/player at baccarat.

To set up the Ascot system write down a series of numbers. You can make up any series you want, but it’s easier if you pick an odd number of numbers. For example 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 30. Place your even money bet on the middle number in the series. In this example your first bet would be eight units. If you win, step up to the next bet in the series. If you lose go down one step for your next bet. When you’ve won the highest number in the series or lost the lowest number, stop the series and start over. It’s that simple.

This method should enable you to play for a long period of time betting with a relatively small amount of money. On the negative side, any series that requires you to lower your bet substantially when you lose will cost you a lot of money if wins and losses alternate at the higher bet levels. In the example here, you would lose at 20, win at 13, lose at 20 and so forth. Not a surefire way toward profitability. The Kelly Criterion was originally developed for industrial use, but gamblers recognized early on that it could be valuable for theoretically correct money management. While it is most suitable for horse racing, it is also of interest for blackjack card counters.

The Kelly Criterion tells the gambler the optimum amount to bet, as a percentage of his bankroll, to maximize the growth of his capital. It’s designed to work when the gambler has some kind of edge. For example, he can handicap the horses better than the general public or he is an expert card counter at blackjack.

Let’s look at what the Kelly Criterion does and doesn’t do. (1) It doesn’t guarantee you will make a profit. It does maximize your profits if you do win. (2) It also doesn’t guarantee you won’t lose money. It does minimize the chance that you will lose all your money. (3) It will not help you overcome the house edge in casino games. It’s designed to work when the gambler has an edge. I promised to keep it simple, but we must look at the math involved. You need to determine two factors in order to size your bets the Kelly way. First, the odds you get on the wager. At the track this may be quoted as 6 to 1. So 6 would be the odds that you are getting. Second, you establish the probability that you are going to win (expressed as a decimal or fraction). Let’s assume you expect to win 60% (0. 6) of the time. From that you can calculate the probability you will lose (it’s one minus the probability you will win, or 0. 4 in this example) then divide it by the odds (that’s the 6 in the example in this paragraph). Now subtract to get the fraction of your bankroll to bet according to Kelly. That would be 0. 6 minus 0. 4/6 or 0. 53. So if you had a $1, 000 bankroll, you would bet $530. Notice as the odds drop (say 1 to 1) you would bet less of your bankroll. That’s the beauty of the system.

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