Home  |  Poker Roll  |  Poker Tweeter  |  FlopZoom  |  FlopZoom Lite  |  News  |  Blog
Home  |  Poker Roll  |  Poker Tweeter  |  FlopZoom  |  FlopZoom Lite  |  News  |  Blog
FlopCruncher Tutorial

By now you must have seen the various poker TV shows and their hand win percentage graphics. And you may have already memorized many hand vs. hand win percentages. Now it's time to refine that knowledge.

We're going to give you a few examples of how to use FlopCruncher to examine some basic hand vs. hand scenarios. We hope this will get you started and help you to use FlopCruncher to develop a better feel for Hold'em starting hands and probabilities.  
Pair vs. Pair

This is a classic situation, and one that we will see over and over again in our poker careers. Aces vs. kings is a common all-in preflop situation. The kings are a massive underdog, of course.

  • Click the "reset holes" and "reset board" buttons
  • Select A A (any two aces) vs. K K (any two kings)
  • Click the "preflop" button

Now try the same thing with other pair vs. pair scenarios:

  • A A vs. 10 10
  • A A vs. 7 7
  • J J vs. 9 9
  • 4 4 vs. 2 2

Does it matter how far apart the ranks of the pairs are? Why did the sevens do slightly better against the aces than the kings did?  
Pair vs. Overcards
Ah, another classic: the "race" situation. Under the right conditions both of these hands are worthy of all-ins before the flop. The phrase "good enough to go broke with" comes to mind here, and it happens many times every day all around the world.

Select Q Q vs. A K then click "preflop". See why it's called a "race"?

Try it again with 7 7 vs. K 9 . Not too much different, really. The player with the pair starts out as a slight favorite preflop, but pairing either of the opponent's cards will beat him unless the pair improves.

Now change the king to an eight and run the sevens 7 7 against
8 9 . The sevens are a slightly smaller favorite. But why? The sevens are still up against two overcards.

It's because the 8 9 is a "connector" hand. Connected cards with consecutive ranks are far easier to make straights with than "gappers" like K 9 .

Also, 8 9 can make several higher straights than the sevens could. Those kinds of differences can affect your odds.
Pair vs. Undercards
The best thing about this situation for the player with the undercards is that they're both live (i.e. the other player doesn't have one.) The worst thing for the undercards is that they'll need more than one board card to help them catch up to the overpair.

Run J J vs. 10 9 , then J J vs. 5 4 . The jacks are a bigger favorite against the 10 9 . Why?

It's because the jacks make it much harder for the 10 9 to make the king-high, queen-high, and jack-high straights. On the other hand, the jacks are far enough away that they don't interfere with any of the straights that the
5 4 could make.

Remember that straights are relatively hard to make, which is why they're worth more than three of a kind or two pair. Thus he actual difference in percentages is small but still noticeable.

Let's start with the worse possible case. It's a nightmare scenario: aces vs. "big slick". A A vs. A K .

This is the worst way to be dominated: your high card is the same rank as the other player's pair. Big slick needs at least two board cards to crack the aces. And, to put it politely, you'll need to be sitting on a golden horseshoe for that to happen.

It's slightly less grim for smaller cards. 8 8 vs. 8 7 is slightly less dire, but the pair still dominates.

A far more common (and less drastic) way to be dominated is when you and another player both have a card of the same rank. If his other card (his "kicker") outranks yours, you're "outkicked" and you need to pair your kicker (or make some extremely unlikely flush or straight) to win.

Try A K vs. A Q . That's a pretty common all-in situation, especially if an ace hits the board. The king kicker makes big slick a huge favorite.

Now try A K vs. K Q . It makes almost no difference. You don't have any overcards so you're the one that needs to improve by either hitting your kicker (your "live" card) or making a straight or flush or other unlikely hand.

Ace vs. Face
We hope you won't need to go all-in preflop with "any ace" or "any face" too often. (Unless you're getting the right implied odds, of course.) But sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. In certain situations you have no choice.

Select any ace with a random card vs. any king with a random card and see what happens. As you would expect, the ace-high hand is a favorite. But not by too much. In many situations you could be getting the correct odds to call.

How much difference does suitedness make?

Let's try re-running "The Nightmare Scenario", but this time with specific cards. You should run these scenarios a few times to minimize the "luck factor":

  • A A vs. A K
  • A A vs. A K

The ace king suited has the better chance against the "pocket rockets", but it's still nearly hopeless. Suitedness adds a few percentage points, and in this case it nearly doubles the ace-king's slim chances.

Now try it with eights vs. any two random cards:
  • 8 8 vs.        

And try it again with the same eights against any two clubs:
  • 8 8 vs. ? ?

This time there's very little improvement. Flushes are relatively hard to make. Now go back to the top and re-run the examples in the previous sections, but this time with suited cards whenever they're not a pair. See much of a difference in the results?
Any Suited
We added the "any suited" feature to make it a little easier to study the odds for hands like "any suited ace" and "any suited seven six". To give both hole cards the same random suit, select the "Suited" menu item in the suit menu or type the = keyboard shortcut while hovering the mouse over the bottom half of a card.

Try the nightmare scenario one last time with the same rockets versus any suited ace king. Still pretty dire for big slick. In fact, the odds are exactly the same as for either ace king of clubs or ace king of hearts. Can you figure out why?

Well, the only possibilities are A A vs. A K and A A vs. A K . Only two suited ace kings are possible versus any pair of aces, and both of the suited ace king hands have an equal chance of beating the aces preflop.

Now let's say you're dealt a suited ace, you're deep in a tournament, you need to make a stand, and you put your opponent on a medium pair like pocket eights.

Does the suited ace get much better odds than an unsuited ace? How much better? Next time you're in that situation, think back to this example and decide if you want to risk it all with your suited ace.

We'll get into more detail on the seven six suited in the intermediate tutorial.

Any Pair
Sometimes it seems like you never get dealt a pair, but hang in there. On average the dealer will give you a pocket pair about 6% of the time, or in one out of every 16 hands.

We added the "any pair" feature to help you study your odds if and when you (or your opponents) are dealt a pair. And "any pair" means exactly that: on any deal, that pair could be anything from aces down to deuces.

So how would any pair do against any two random cards? Select "Pair" from the rank menu or hit the = keyboard shortcut to select "any pair" in a seat and select "Wild" for all ranks and suits at another seat.

This is the kind of situation you might face deep in a tournament when you're forced to make a stand, or if you're in a cash game against an ATC (Any Two Card) maniac. (Believe us, they're out there.) Naturally the pair is a favorite.

Now try any pair vs. any ace. Not so much of a favorite now, but your random pair still has a good chance of winning.

Against ace king, your pair is, as you'd expect, more or less in a race situation.

How about any pair vs. pocket eights? The eights are just about average in rank, as far as pairs go, so they're almost even money to win.

Against pocket aces, your random pair is, like every other hand, a massive dog. But not quite as bad a dog as a specific under pair. This is because "any pair" will also be pocket aces once in a while.

You can re-run these examples with one or two specific (and different) suits for the pair cards. The any pair feature allows you to choose a specific or random suit for either or both cards at that seat.

Many Callers
Usually, the more players are in the hand, the less chance you have of winning. There are more people trying to draw out on you. Even the mighty aces become underdogs when there are many callers.

Try pitting pocket aces vs. two random cards. The aces are a big favorite, naturally.

Now run the aces against two, three, and more random hands. The aces becomes smaller favorites against more random hands.

Keep increasing the number of other players in the hand, giving them random cards, until you find the point where the aces are about even money to win.

Next time you're dealt the pocket rockets, remember that you do want action from callers but you also need to thin the herd a bit to help your chances.

Try the simulation with pocket kings vs. one, two, three, and more players. Then try it with pocket sevens. As you would expect, the smaller your pair, the worse it will do with many callers.

Basic Tutorial  |  Intermediate Tutorial  |  Advanced Tutorial