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.

Ev Poker

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.

20 free spins on sign up codes. Related article:EV (expected value)

Poker Expected Value Calculator


Expected Value [EV] Theory

Expected Value (EV) in Poker is a very misunderstood concept. Our intention here is to explain “expected value” as simply as possible and to make you a better poker player by using expected value theory in your decision making process. Without going into a technical definition here is an example of an event that will have a zero expected value over time (EV = 0.00) so as to make this idea clear in your mind. Let’s say I asked you to pick a number between one and twenty and that each time you got it right I would pay you $20. You would expect to be able to correctly guess the number once out of every twenty tries. If I were to charge you $1 for each guess and you guessed at the number millions of times then the expected value under these circumstances would be zero. You would win $20 every twenty tries and since it would cost you $1 each try you would end up winning $20 for each $20 you gambled. If on the other hand I charged you more than a dollar for each guess you would be silly to bet against me (your expected value would be negative) and if I charged you less than a dollar for each guess then you would want to play against me all day long for the rest of your life. To put this idea into gambling terms you know that in Roulette there are 36 numbers and usually a 0 and even a 00 on a table. Clearly your EV would be zero if the casino paid you 37 to one (plus your original bet back) or 38 to one in total but in fact they give you 35 to one on your bet (and your bet back) so your expected value to make money over time is negative. And that is assuming you are betting on only one number for each spin. If you bet on multiple numbers on the same spin of the wheel then your expected value is even worse.

Ev Poker Chart

OK now you have a feeling for what we are talking about. How does all this relate to playing Texas Holdem? Glad you asked. In Texas Holdem the expected value of your first two cards depend on the cards you have, your position on the table, and the number of players at the table. In other words you will be happy to know that in the dealer position (on the button) pocket aces yield an EV of 2.96 when there are ten players at the table. This data is based on real data compiled over millions of hands and in real money games. So in the case of our AA in the dealer spot it goes without saying that you will make loads of money with pocket aces. Course we have all lost pocket aces but more often than not we will win the hand and if you have ever played Texas No Limit Holdem then you know that going all in pre-flop with pocket aces is the only time you can be sure to have the one up on all other players in the hand before you have seen a single card. It is expected value theory in Texas Holdem that can help you make a decision to go all in pre-flop (or not). Sometimes you are in a Texas Holdem Tournament and you are running out of chips and it is time to make a bold play (like the all in play). Wouldn’t you rather make a decision that at least you know that in the long run you have a positive expected value with a given hand and not a negative expected value? Sometimes it is just this little difference and this little bit of information that can help you stay in the Tournament until you are in the money as opposed to busting out early. We have taken the liberty to give you all the expected value data for 10 players all the way down to 2 players so that you can make an educated decision in the game at the crucial time instead of gambling blind on any two cards that are yours to play. Ultimately the all in play is the one situation the more talented Texas Hold’em players prefer to avoid in a pre-flop situation (unless they have pocket aces) and by using the all in strategy you will be able to improve your standing in a Texas Holdem Tournament without seeing a flop (hopefully). This is assumed that nobody calls your all in and that you pick up the blinds without a challenge.

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)=-0.10
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)=-0.30
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 calculator

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.

Poker Ev Spreadsheet

Please send all your comments and questions about expected value to [email protected] Enjoy Online Texas Holdem and play smart!