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FlopCruncher Tutorial
Intermediate

Now we'll start to introduce some flop cards into the mix, and get into some more interesting hand types.  
Suited Connectors
"Suited connectors" are two cards that have consecutive ranks (or sometimes just one gap between them) and the same suit. A typical example is 7 6 . It isn't much by itself: it has little high card power and needs more than one board card to help it beat a bigger hand such as an overpair. But a good flop can make a suited connector hand a favorite over a big pair.

First, clear all cards by clicking "reset board" and "reset holes." Then select
7 6 in seat 10 (right of the text area.) Select A A in seat 1 (left of the text area) and click any of the four deal buttons. Not looking so good for the seven-six.


Changing the aces to kings or queens doesn't change the odds much. On the other hand, seven-six suited has better odds against the aces (or kings or queens) than an underpair does. (Remember the percentages from Pair vs. Pair in the Basic Tutorial?)

Now let's improve the odds for our suited connectors:

Set the three "flop" cards (the group of 3 cards in the board card area) to
8 5 J This flop has given the seven-six of diamonds two big draws: an open-ended straight draw (completed by a nine or a four) and a flush draw (completed by any diamond.)

Click the "preflop" deal button, then click the "flop" deal button. Who's the favorite before the flop? On the flop?

The combined drawing power of the open-ended straight and the flush have given seat 10's suited connectors the advantage over seat 1's big pair. You can click back and forth between the "preflop" and "flop" buttons to see the shift in odds from preflop to flop.

Notice that FlopCruncher shows you which cards are being used in the calculation. When you click "preflop," all board cards are shaded to indicate that they haven't been put into play yet.



When you click "flop," the three flop cards are brought up to normal brightness and a yellow highlight appears around them.




Likewise, clicking "turn" highlights the flop and turn cards.





And of course, clicking "river" highlights all the board cards.

 
Counting Outs
The drawing power of a hand, as shown in the previous example, is determined by the number of cards left in the deck that can help to improve the hand into a winner. Those cards are called "outs" because when you're drawing you're usually the underdog and need to get "out" of trouble.

So in the aces vs. seven-six of diamonds example, we set up a flop that gave the seven-six enough outs to be a mathematical favorite over the aces. How many outs were there?

Well let's see: any diamond would make a flush, and that would beat the aces. There are still 9 diamonds unaccounted for, so that's 9 outs. Also, any nine or four would make a straight. That's 4 nines and 4 fours for 8 more outs.

Not quite. Remember that we already counted the nine of diamonds and the four of diamonds as outs for the flush draw. That leaves 3 nines and 3 fours for 6 outs to make the winning straight. So, the straight and flush draws combined give the seven-six a total of 9 + 6 = 15 outs.

There are also other possible hands, such as three sevens or two pair (sevens and sixes), that require 2 consecutive running cards. But these "runner-runner" hands are statistically very rare. And if your main draws have enough outs the runner-runner draws are statistically insignificant. Runner-runner draws give you approximately 1.5 outs, which may or may not change your odds much. Trust us: don't chase runner-runner draws if you can avoid it.

The Rule of Four and Two
A quick way to roughly calculate your percentage of winning, given the number of outs for your hand, is "the rule of four and two." On the flop, you multiply your outs by 4 to get your win percentage going all the way to the river (if you all-in, for example.) On the turn, you multiply your outs by 2 to get your win percentage going all the way to the river. (Assuming, of course, you know your opponent can't make a flush even with running diamonds.) This is a rough approximation but it's close enough.

So, our seven-six of diamonds was roughly 60% to win according to "the rule of four and two." FlopCruncher gives you a more accurate number, including ties as well, but in this example there can be no tie.

Pure Outs
Important: Just because you can hit your straight doesn't mean that you can win the hand if it gets to a showdown. If there are three spades on the flop and a fourth spade hits on the turn, even if you made your straight you could be "drawing dead." It's possible that you lose the hand no matter what card comes on the river because your opponent already made a flush to beat your straight.

Ideally when you count your outs, you're drawing to the "nuts," or the best possible hand. Now wouldn't that be nice? But most of the time you'll be drawing to a strong but not unbeatable hand.

You'll need to get proficient at counting your "pure" outs: cards that could make your hand that won't help your opponent's hand. There are many excellent poker books on the market that discuss counting outs, so we won't go into more detail here.

Just remember that you can't just play your cards. You need to be able to figure out what your opponent holds as well.
 
Statistics Mode

Let's take a deeper look at exactly how many times the 7 6 makes straights, flushes, and straight flushes. Just leave the hole cards and board cards the way they are. Click the "info" button to flip the widget over to its back side.

In the "text" popup menu, select "Seat 10 statistics." Click the "done" button to return to the front side of FlopCruncher, then click "river" to run the simulation with all five board cards.



The percentages for royal flushes ("rf"), straight flushes ("sf"), on down to high card ("hc") hands made by seat 10 are shown in the text area now.

You can see that just about 1/3 of the time seat 10 made a flush ("fl"), and about 1/5 of the time seat 10 made a straight ("st"). The number of straight flushes ("sf") is very small. (Note that these numbers are the result of running the calculation with 10,000 deals.)



Now change the five of spades to the five of diamonds and change the jack of diamonds to the jack of spades. You've given seat 10 an open-ended straight flush draw.

He still has the same open-ended straight draw, but now the nine of diamonds or the four of diamonds completes a straight flush, and any other diamond makes a flush.



Click "river" and you can see that the percentage for straight flushes ("sf") has increased to just under 10% of the hands made. But why didn't the overall win percentage change?

Because most flushes will beat the pocket aces, straight flush or not. Occasionally the ace of diamonds will be chosen as one of seat 1's hole cards, and seat 1 will make the ace-high flush with just one card. But not very often. We at FlopTech have seen this happen many times, but it's still a rare occurrence.

 
Flopping a Set
Great! You called a raise with your pair and hit a set (three of a kind) on the flop. Time to build a big pot if you can since you're probably a big favorite.

The best scenario for you is that your set is up against an overpair. Click "reset board" and "reset holes" to reset all cards. Click "info" to flip to FlopCruncher's back side and select "poker quotes" from the text option menu.

Select 7 7 in seat 1 and select A A in seat 10 and click "preflop." Bad news for the sevens.


Now click the left-most flop card's rank and set it to a seven. The suit doesn't matter. Click "flop" and see how things have changed. The odds have flipped: now the sevens are about a 4 to 1 favorite.


Click back and forth between "preflop" and "flop" to see the change. To put another nail in the aces' coffin, set the other two flop cards to 10 2 and click "flop."

The sevens are roughly a 10:1 favorite now. The aces' most likely way to win is if one of the two remaining aces comes up. Drawing thin to a two-outer.

The aces could also win if the board gives them a flush (and the sevens don't make a straight flush.) Making a flush with just one of your hole cards is even harder than making one with both. Drawing thin indeed.

So that was the best scenario for the small flopped set. You're most likely a strong favorite so you want to build a big pot. Remember that roughly 7 out of 8 times you'll miss the flop and your small pair won't look so hot. But that 1 in 8 times when you do flop your set, you need to make up for all the times you didn't.

On the other hand, flopping a set could get you into big trouble. One of the worst scenarios for the small flopped set is "set over set," when another player has flopped a bigger set. It's tough to get away from this scenario if the flop isn't otherwise scary (because of straight cards or flush cards.)

Leave the two aces at seat 1 and the sevens in seat 10, but now add an ace and a three to the flop. Very, very bad for the sevens.

There is only one more out in the deck (the last, or "case" seven.) There is a tiny chance that running suited cards could give the sevens a flush that the aces don't have. Yet you think you've got the best hand with the set of sevens. It hardly matters what rank the bigger set is: the smaller set is in huge trouble.


The good news is that set over set only happens once in every 100 times you and your opponent both hold a pocket pair. So if you flop that set, depending on relative stack sizes, the texture of the flop, and the flow of the game, you probably need to bet to protect your hand and to build a pot.

Basic Tutorial  |  Intermediate Tutorial  |  Advanced Tutorial

Intermediate Tutorial
Suited Connectors
Counting Outs
Statistics Mode
Flopping a Set

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