I hate losing big pots, but if they encourage me to study a spot until I grok it, then that buy-in will not have died in vain.

Let me start with saying, I screwed up this hand. I was seduced by the absolute strength of the hand, not the relative strength.

We were $525 effective at $2-$5.

A loosy-goosey fun player opens to $25. A passive player calls,
We call on the button with 79s.
Tight boring player calls closing the action from the Big Blind.

Pot is $100, $525 effective. I am last of four players.

Flop is 7s 9s Jd

Original raiser is not a discriminating c-bettor. Him firing $60 here does not mean much.

The passive player calls, this means a lot. He has a hand or a great draw. I am not sure he would raise here with a made hand.

What do we do here? We can attack the problem quantitatively using Flop Falcon.

I am going to start with assuming he has a flush draw. That makes a ton of sense. We will give him only the suited hands in his range, for now. 9% of hands or 120 combos before the flop.

If we put him on a flush draw with this range, we must also give him top pairs with the other suits that he would probably call with and also two pair.

19% of this range is flush draws (with possible pairs also)
12% top pair
5% two pair
2% straights.

When we both hit like this, how is our equity?

This is a histogram. Most equity calculators just give you one number, the average equity of the range on range (in this case 53%). Some programs will give you a hand versus a range where only hands that meet a criteria like “Two Pair” or “Flush Draw” count. These programs will just give you a single number for equity, the average.

Here with this histogram, we are looking at only those hands where Villain hits one of the above listed hands from that range of suited hands. This bar chart has a bar for how often we have 0%-10% equity (on the left) then going to the right it is 10%-20%, 20%-30%, all the way up to 90%-100%.

Notice that overall, we are normally going into this with 40%-60% equity, and on average we have 53% equity. We have fighting equity for sure, but this is a deceptively middle strength hand. Notice that we rarely have a lock hand here, mostly middle equity hands, sometimes we are just crushed with a low equity hand of less than 30%.

We are not done yet though. This passive player in the middle, can have sets also, so let go put those in his range and his flop call criteria.

Now, how do we feel? He can have all the sets also.

In his range, he can have

12% Flush Draws
7% Top Pair
3% Two Pair
7% Trips
2% Straights

We look at the histogram:

The most frequent thing here is we have 0%-10% equity!
Next most likely thing is we have 50%-60% equity.
On average, we have 42% equity.

This bottom two is not looking good.

We could filter this situation further, saying that the passive player would raise sets and straights but just call with two pair, top pair and flush draws. That certainly increases our equity because we are facing a capped range:

However, it mostly lets us see where we are against a set or straight and drawing thin. Even versus this capped range, we are mostly in the middle strength with 57%.

I was seduced by the absolute strength of two pair, built a pot versus top pair, gutshot + flush draw (J8s, the worst possible hand that is not a better made hand than mine). No where in this histogram do I have crushing, equity. I mostly have mediocre equity, built a pot where even if I have a better made hand, the other team has a ton of equity and will not fold.

Would I be a better poker player if he bricked the river? No, but I would be $1100 richer right now.

Showing 2 comments
  • Peter B

    Could you explain more in deep how this strategy could work on other hands?

  • Alec Torelli

    Hey RedChip,

    You guys have some awesome content and I wanted to personally let you know about something I’ve just put into the works.

    I just started a ‘Best of Poker’ series on my blog which aims to feature the best poker content on the web on a monthly basis. I think some of the articles you wrote would make for great pieces. It will help you because your posts will be seen by all of my readers, plus the link backs are great for your site as well.

    Feel free to submit any of your posts (old or archived posts are fine) on my blog here:

    Each month the most popular ones will be selected as winners, and I’ll include some of my personal favorites as well. My goal is to showcase the best poker content on a monthly basis and help raise the bar for what the influencers produce.

    Thanks for your time, and good luck!
    Alec Torelli