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Win at High-Low Poker! Vital knowledge to profit from Seven-Card Stud High-Low. Get a competitive edge.


An essential component of a poker player’s knowledge base and skill set, is the ability to assess pot equity, which is the probability of winning the hand multiplied by the value of the pot. A player with a 30% chance of winning a $100 pot has $30 worth of equity in the pot. The probability of winning depends on several factors – the hand the player holds, the number of other players vying for the pot, and the range of possibilities for these other players’ holdings.

For example, before the flop, AA heads-up against two random cards will win on average 85% of the time, or approximately 6 out of every 7 times the situation arises. Although AA is a heavy favorite heads-up, an average failure rate of 1 out of every 7 times is noticeable. There is a big difference between winning most of the time and winning all of the time, which is a concept that many players fail to grasp. In fact, if AA didn’t lose on average 1 out of every 7 times, that would be evidence that something is wrong with the deck or the deal. In addition, if a holder of AA fails to raise and ends up in “family pot” vying against nine other players each holding two random cards, AA wins on average 30% of the time – meaning that it is not a favorite (although it has a higher probability of winning than any other individual player).

One way to get a feel for these probabilities and the effects of other players in the hand is to spend some time with the 888 poker odds calculator. It has a clean easy-to-use interface. When launched, it will show two active players with two random cards assigned – indicated by question marks – and probabilities assigned to each of 50%, which is exactly what would be expected for two players heads-up with no other information available. You can then assign specific card values by clicking on the blank card and selecting from a pop-up menu of all 52 cards in the deck. For example, assign A-clubs, King-clubs to one player and the winning percentage changes to 65%. Change the King-clubs to a King-diamonds and it becomes 64.2%, which shows that most of the power of Ace-King comes from the rank of the cards and not from the presence or absence of flush possibilities.

You can also assign specific cards to the other player by clicking the other cards and choosing available cards from the pop-up menu. Try AK suited versus a 55 that does not include the suit of either of the AK selected and the pair wins 51.1% of the time, which is why these small pair versus two suited over card situations are often referred to as “coin-flips.”

The virtual table has eight other inactive seats. Click the “Add Player” button two activate any one of them and either leave it as two random cards, or assign specific cards by clicking and choosing from the pop-up menu. The winning percentages instantly re-calculate as changes are made. Add a third player with two random cards to the AK suited versus 55 scenario and the winning percentages change to 41.7% for the AK, 36.3% for pair, and 20.9% for the random hand, with ties making up difference between the sum of these percentages and 100%.

Any player that has been activated using the “Add Player” button can be removed by hovering over that player’s cards to cause a red “x” to appear and then clicking on the x. You can also clear all the assigned card values by clicking a “Reset” button in the top right corner of the virtual table.

You can also explore post-flop, post-turn, and post-river scenarios by assigning values to the community cards on the virtual table. One useful exercise is to study the differences between static and dynamic flops for various holdings. For example, assign one player QQ and leave the other player with two random cards. Pre-flop the winning percentage for the Queens is 79.9%. Next assign a relatively static flop of 3, 5, 9, rainbow. Post-flop the winning percentage for the Queens rises to 81.4%. But change the flop to a dynamic one of say 7-clubs, 8 clubs, 9-diamonds and the winning percentage for the Queens drops to 65.7%. Some time spent trying various scenarios with the 888 pot odds calculator will improve your feel for different flop textures.

Of course, in practice you do not play against two random cards, nor do you play against two specific cards, but rather you play against a range of possibilities. That range can be wide or narrow depending on the tendencies and actions of your opponent and the actual cards on the board. An accurate real-time assessment of pot-equity must consider the range of possibilities. This pot odds calculator could be greatly improved by adding a pop-up menu that allows for the assignment of ranges to hands. For example, rather than just a menu of the remaining cards from the deck, there could be an option to select boxes from a 13x13 grid illustrating all 169 starting hands. Then the winning percentage of QQ could be calculated versus someone playing a range consisting of all pairs and Broadway cards for example, rather than any two random cards, which isn’t a realistic range.

However, as an exercise in exploring the relative strength of various holdings against varying numbers of players and flop textures, this is an easy-to-use calculator with a clean intuitive interface.