Implied odds are a term that most poker players are aware of, but very few truly know what they are. You will hear players cite implied odds as their reasoning for making questionable plays, but ask them what they are, and they slink back in their chair.
So let’s fully break down this concept and show you the shortcut for making simple estimates at the table. Push play and continue reading for additional examples and the implied odds formula.
Preflop play should be fairly simple, but most players struggle preflop because they lack a plan. So to make your life easier, I put together my preflop checklist that you can begin using in your next session. This preflop checklist contains just 6 things that will keep you focused on the right information preflop and help you decide if you should fold, limp-behind, or attack with a big raise.
Most players build their preflop strategy solely around a hand chart they found online. Now don’t get me wrong-a poker hand range chart can be helpful. But charts are limiting if you don’t know when (and how) to deviate from them. So instead of trying to remember 128 different ranges from each position – let’s focus on the big 6 things that impact your ranges, sizes, and edges preflop. And to make life easier, I’ve named this the PLANES Method since it’s easy to remember!
So let’s break down each letter in this checklist…
Live poker, and poker played in casinos and cardrooms, requires some strategic nuance to win more per hour. With some basic adjustments and a deeper understanding of the game flow, you’ll find both preflop and postflop much easier to play.
This guide is going to break down some easy adjustments you
can make to your game to capitalize on the uniqueness of live poker games. Learn
how to play in games where players hate folding preflop, playing with different
stack sizes, the mechanics of bluffing, beating slow players, and even how to
craft your own preflop ranges.
EV, short for expected value, is the most vital mathematical concept in poker. When we say that something is +EV it means the play is expected to be profitable in the longrun. Whereas a play that is -EV is expected to lose us money in the longrun.
The Poker EV Formula
The most simple poker expected value (EV) formula is this:
EV = (%W * $W) – (%L * $L)
Poker contains a lot of repetitive math, especially when studying poker hands away from the table. While you can use software to do a lot of this math, sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned spreadsheet is the best way to visualize and play with the numbers. So to save you a tremendous amount of time, I put together this pack of my spreadsheets that you are free to use while exploring spots!
This is a name-your-own price download, so if money is super-tight, you can enter $0 and get it for free. But if you throw a few chips my way, not only would I massively appreciate it, but I’ll also give you a free PRO video AND over $200 in discounts. No pressure either way – I just wanted you to know your options 😃
SPR, short for stack-to-pot-ratio, is a powerful concept that can help you take better lines both preflop and postflop. If you can understand and apply SPR strategy in poker you will have a mathematical framework for commitment. Here is the SPR formula:
SPR = Effective Stack Size / Pot Size
We simply take the effective stack (the smallest of the stacks involved in a hand) and divide it by the pot size. So if we both have $200 and the pot is currently $10, we are in a 20 SPR pot.
Poker is a game of math. The math can range from simple things like figuring out the size of the pot to very complex things like calculating the EV of multi-street plays. But poker is also a social/psychological game where tells, psychology, and dynamics come into play (especially in live & casino poker). Players that approach the game solely through the social lens are just as much missing a crucial element as players that solely approach the game mathematically. Like most things, balance is required to be a well-rounded player who can thrive at any table.
While most math-based players understand the value in the social side of the game (albeit, usually not giving it the credence it deserves – myself included years ago), social-focused players tend to ignore much of math side of the game. This is normally due to the fear that the math will be too complex, too cumbersome, and maybe even too nerdy.
Equilab is poker software that 90% of players are using to do in-depth equity calculations, explore ranges, and save hundreds of hours when studying their hands between sessions.
But complex software can be a bit confusing to use, so I made a quick video showing you how to start using Equilab. Whether you’ve been using Equilab for years, or just heard about this software today, this video & guide will help you use this tool more efficiently.
One of the most important intermediate skills a player can have is the ability use combos and blockers at the poker table. These technical skills require nothing more than a little counting (if you can handle 4+12, you’ll be fine!), but they can help you find so many extra bluffs and thinner value bets in every session you play.
The concept of ABC poker is often times misunderstood. Many players think ABC poker is playing some super exploitable and dumified strategy that makes about 0bb/100. However, ABC poker is really just a term to describe a simple strategy that focuses on good fundamental play and veers away from FPS (fancy play syndrome).
In full disclosure, I use an ABC strategy quite often, especially in live games and micro stakes online games. But if I’m fully capable of using a LAG strategy, why would I use such a simplified strategy?
Imagine playing in a brand-new game. Every player is unknown to you, you have zero information on any opponent, and it folds to you with T♣8♠ in middle position. An ABC player would just fold here. T8o isn’t a default open-raise from middle position and thus it’s an easy fold.
But if I had information, such as everyone behind me is tight, then I’m going to break away from ABC and raise to try and steal the blinds from a non-steal spot. This is how I would play as a default too. With information I’m going to raise and try to pick up the pot preflop…but without information I would resort to a default strategy of just folding my weak hand because I don’t have information on the other players.
This, in essence, is ABC poker.
This same concept can be applied to postflop poker. With information, you may continuation bet more, size your value bets more perfectly, and even run double barrels and overbets more often. But without information, or even with super minimal information like a sample size of 14, you will oftentimes have to revert back to default lines.
The ABC Poker Playbook
Since ABC poker boils down to simpler play, their playbook is usually easy. They typically use a small ball poker strategy and utilize an easy bet sizing strategy that prioritizes a single size over multiple. They also avoid mixed strategies and instead use a binary approach when building their ranges.
So what are some ABC lines that players use?