Ev Poker

EV, short for ‘expected value’ is the focus of every poker player. Our goal is to make as many +EV decisions as possible, and the more +EV the better. In short, a play that is +EV is expected to net us money over the long term while plays that are -EV are going to cost us money over the long term. Want to the know the EV of your play? What is Expected Value (EV) in Poker? In short, expected value (EV) is the average result of a given play if it were made hundreds (or even thousands) of times. Let’s start with a non-poker example to understand its basic application, and then we’ll move on to a poker hand example. The Steph Curry Bet.

Poker, played correctly, is not gambling in my opinion. And I think this is a good way to explain EV to non-poker players or new players. The idea in poker is to do two things - make correct decisions based on available information and to maximize your EV (at least make sure it's positive). If you do both, then you will eventually come out ahead. Expected value helps poker players make decisions based on risk versus reward. Players use the expected value formula to quickly calculate if they should bet, check or fold. Our extensive guide. What Does It Mean in Poker? EV is short for Expected Value, which refers to the amount of money, on average, a particular action expects to win or lose. Expected Value differs from actual winnings because EV is a statistical measurement that takes place over a large sample.

In this article we are going to illustrate situations in which the expected value can be compared with the actual result. Expected value, or EV, is here a measure of how well the players perform and the difference could be seen as the luck/unluck.
The most efficient and best illustrated way to compare results with performance are by comparing graphs for result and EV. This will give you an overview in a glance of how lucky or unlucky you have been. Luck can never be measured to 100 percent in poker, but this will give you the best estimation you can get (the second way to 'measure luck' in poker is to analyze hand distributions).
Here, you can see a diagram with one graph showing result and another showing EV:

As you can see the curves sometimes deviates from each other. In the middle of the diagram, the deviations are most apparent: the player is losing a big hand in an even situation. This could, for example, be a standard coin flip situation, like A-K against T-T. At the end of the graphs, we can conclude that the player has earned a little more money than he deserved from the sample of hands use for the diagram.

We can look at a specific hand and explain how this works. In this hand, you re-raise all-in with Q-Q and get called by A-Js. You are a favorite here with approximately 70-30%. Although, in the graph below, you will not see this in percent but money. If you and your opponent both have \$50 in chips the pot will be \$100. If we don't count in the rake or the chance of a split the value to be won here is \$100.

Your EV in this situation is therefore 0,70*\$100 = \$70

In this case we get two different graphs depending on the outcome:

In the first diagram (to the left), the favorite hand holds. However, as you can see the EV graph is some lower than the result graph. This is because the expected value was \$70 and not \$100. The EV is obviously meant to be seen in a long perspective.

In the second diagram the curves separates widely, and we can for sure say that you were a bit unlucky in this situation. The \$70 value that you 'should have' in the long run happened to be \$0 in the short run.

Comparing EV with result, is a tremendous way to analyze your game and find out how well you perform in relation to how much you win or lose. Have you just been lucky or should you have won even more? One other thing is that you never must be unaware of the real circumstances. A common reaction for a player that face a lot of bad beats is beginning to mistrust the poker room for not giving them a fair game. With an EV graph you can see the fact – maybe you, in fact, were very unfortunate or maybe your losses weren't so unrealistic after all.

To get access to EV graphs you need a poker software, like Poker Tracker or Hold'em Manager. These kinds of software can automatically transform your hand history into EV graphs (on conditions that it is saved and could be exported as a.txt file) and lots of other things.

Poker Expected Value Calculator

Expected Value [EV] Theory

Ev Poker Chart

As a rule the better the expected value of your first two cards in Texas Holdem the better the chances of you eventually winning the hand. In other words if you have an EV of 1.00 your bet in this situation will get you much more money more often than not as represented by such a strong expected value. You must note that even hands with an EV greater than 1.0 will lose sometimes. But in the long run you will make money with them. Actually the hands with an EV = 0.00 will break even over time so we suggest that you play the two first cards with a positive expected value as often as you can (depending on the situation). If you are in the dealer position with JJ and three people have gone all in for more chips than you have in total and it is your turn to play then you should fold immediately since there is a good probability that someone has a better hand and even though the EV of JJ in the dealer position is 0.89 you have to know that you are up against some very powerful hands.

In the above example we gave you the expected value of JJ in the dealer position in a ten player game. Below you will note the expected value of hands in a ten player game in the dealer position:

 AA = 2.96 KK = 2.09 AK (suited) = 0.99 AK (not suited) = 0.61 QQ = 1.36 JJ = 0.89 1010 = 0.56 AQ (suited) = 0.64 AQ (not suited) = 0.37 KQ (suited) = 0.42 KQ (not suited) = 0.17

If you habitually play hands with large negative expected values you should not be surprised that you are losing more than you win. For example here are some seemingly good and bad starting hands in Texas Holdem and their associated negative expected values (in a ten handed game in the dealer position).

Ev Poker Meaning

 A5 (not suited) = -0.13 A2 (not suited) = -0.14 K2 (suited) = -0.12 J5 (suited) = -0.11 87 (not suited) = -0.08 62 (suited) = -0.1 43 (suited) = -0.11

To show you the difference position makes in expected value please note below the same hands in the big blind position for a ten handed game:

 A5 (not suited) = -0.3 A2 (not suited) = -0.35 K2 (suited) = -0.22 J5 (suited) = -0.23 87 (not suited) = -0.31 62 (suited) = -0.32 43 (suited) = -0.22

Poker Expected Value

In other words in the big blind an 8 7 off suit is much worse (you will lose much more money over time playing this hand) than in the dealers position.