Poker equity: what it is, what it is for and how to calculate it

As a game of skill that it is, in poker you have to control a series of aspects in order to improve the game and take into account more and more variables that affect the outcome of the game. Nothing new, but since training is a path that practically never ends, it is necessary to emphasize all the terms and aspects necessary to advance in poker.

In this post we are going to focus on equity in poker. What it is, how it is calculated and what its function is are questions that we are going to answer. Can you come with us?

What is equity in poker

Let’s start with the basics: what is equity in poker. If we had to summarize this concept in one sentence, we would say that it is that portion of the pot that is at stake that would correspond to a player according to their mathematical probabilities of winning the hand.

In other words, if you decide to use an equity calculator for poker and enter your cards and the common ones, you will be able to know what percentage of the pot would correspond to you. More on this later, but you can calculate poker equity with a formula and not with software programs.

What good is it for us to know equity in poker? Well, as always, the more data we handle, the more information we will have, ergo, the better decisions we will make. And it is that equity is just one more piece of information that we are going to manage to improve our ability to read the games and make optimal decisions at critical moments.

As a hand develops, more cards are revealed on the table. With each card introduced, the equity can change significantly, so you have to do the calculations again to know our equity. Not redoing the calculations or doing them wrong exposes us to making a wrong reading of the game and making unwise decisions.

What is equity poker for?

The equity in poker serves to quantify the part of the pot that according to the community cards and ours would correspond to us, depending on the project that we could link. When going from fairway, the equity is altered.

Equity must be taken as an indicator of our situation in the game. We must not forget that this data is important to make the right decisions when we have to speak, but by itself and in isolation, it is a piece of information that does not provide anything more than statistical information.

But if we are good players, or try to be, and we combine our equity with our calculation of odds and outs, we can have a better overview to know where we are, what we need to look for and what we aspire to achieve.

It can also help us to know if it is really worthwhile for us to continue in the hand or if it is worth it for us to increase the bet. Using the equity poker formula can be good for us in the long term to reduce the number of bad strategic decisions that we make, improving our profit margin, our winrate and reducing the percentage of losses.

How to calculate poker equity

What really matters: knowing how to calculate equity in poker. There are several ways to do this, but one of the best known and most effective is the technique called “out counting.” The outs, if you remember, were those cards that had not come out of the deck and that had the potential to improve our hand.

And how can we calculate equity using the out count? Well, with this formula:

Suppose a player has an 8-out straight draw and there are 46 cards left in the deck postflop. That player would calculate equity as follows:

Although this calculation represents the probability that player has of completing his straight draw with the next card, in reality it is best to take into account the equity of all streets to better inform the next decision to be made. But it’s a good example of how you can use the data at your fingertips in a simple formula to get equity and better place your game at the table.

What do we make clear with all this? That equity in poker has a particularly important meaning. Knowing the equity, we know our proportional relationship with the pot, which pushes us to situate our game and to know what is best for us to do in later streets. That, in turn, will make us bet better, being able to opt for better results.

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