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How to convert your pot odds into equity

How to convert your pot odds into equity

“But…but…but I had pocket aces! How did I lose?”

There’s not a single honest poker player on the planet who could say they’ve never felt robbed when their pocket aces lose an all-in.

There’s a sense of entitlement with big hands that tricks us into thinking we’re always going to win. But that’s simply not how poker works.

Pocket aces will beat 78-suited some 77% of the time, which clearly makes it a big favourite. But that remaining 23%? That’s hardly a small number. The 78-suited will win almost a quarter of the time.

Losing an all-in with aces is obviously unlucky, but understanding the equity of your other hands is crucial to improving your decisions, as well as retaining your sanity when the inevitable bad beats rear their ugly heads.


What is equity?

If you’ve tuned in to watch the BBZ Stream Team on Twitch, chances are you’ll have heard them say things like “We’ve turned a lot of equity with that card”, or “I don’t want to get pushed off my equity”.

Our equity in a hand is how much of the pot we deserve when all-in, expressed as a percentage.

In Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet’s “Back to Basics” webinar bundle for BBZ Poker, the example he gives is a flip scenario.

“If we get in pocket twos versus ace-king all-in pre-flop, we have roughly 52% equity, and our Expected Value (EV) in that pot is 52% multiplied by the pot,” he says. “When an action is +EV it means that you’re winning dollars or chips as compared to your other options, and vice versa with -EV.”


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How to work out your equity

The first (and most simple) way to figure out your hand’s equity is to count your outs.

But as apestyles says, if you have more than 12 outs on the flop, you don’t have to count. “Just play your hand.”

Otherwise, you simply count the number of outs your hand has and then multiply that amount by four on the flop, and by two on the turn.

So, let’s say you have AKhh all-in versus 9s9d on a 3h8h7d board. You have 15 immediate outs which will give you the best hand (three aces, three kings, and the nine remaining hearts), so you have roughly 60% equity with two cards to come and are a favourite to win the pot.

But let’s say the money goes in on the turn of a 3h8h7d7c board. Now you have 13 outs (three aces, three kings, and only seven hearts as the 7h and 9h will give your opponent a full house), so you have roughly 26% equity with one card to come.


How to convert your pot odds into equity

Obviously, you don’t have to sit there and count on your fingers the number of outs you have every time. You’d constantly lose your time bank, and the quick math ability will come with experience.

Instead, a faster way you can work out your equity is by looking at your pot odds and converting it.

There’s some common confusion between equity and pot-odds, as apestyles explains in his video series.

“I often see people make mistakes when they think getting 2:1 is the same thing as needing to win the pot one in two times. Actually, if you’re getting 2:1, that means you need to win the pot one in three times.”

This may be confusing, so apestyles clears things up with the following example.


Apestyles’ trick for calculating the equity you need to call:

He check-raises AcQc on an 8c6d7c flop and faces an all-in. There are 7.63 big blinds in the pot, he has bet 6.5 big blinds, and his opponent has shoved for 21.36 big blinds, making it 14.86 big blinds to call.

He sees he is getting 2.4:1 pot odds to call because he stands to win 2.4x the amount he now needs to invest. He then adds 1 to the larger number, which means he needs to win the pot 1 in 3.4 times.

To convert the pot odds into equity, he divides 1 by 3.4 and gets 0.29, meaning he needs roughly 29% equity to call.

Does the AcQc have it? That all depends on what he thinks the villain is holding.

If they have KdKh, he can only win with an ace or a club, giving him 12 outs and 48% equity. If they have JdJh, he has 15 outs and 60% equity, making him a favourite.

But if they have 8s8h for top set, he loses his overcard outs as well as some clubs. If the board pairs on the turn, he’s drawing dead.

“Nevertheless, it’s good to know that if you have a flush draw versus a set on the flop, you generally have around 25% equity,” says apestyles.


Want to learn from one of the best online tournament players of all time? Then check out Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet’s “Back to Basics” webinar bundle from BBZ Poker.

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