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FlopCruncher Lite 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 Lite to examine hand vs. hand scenarios. We hope this will get you started and help you to use FlopCruncher Lite 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, in fact, the default scenario when you first install FlopCruncher Lite.

  • Select A A vs. K K
  • Select "heads-up" from the "others" menu
  • Click "Deal"
The kings are a massive underdog, of course. Now leave the suits of the four cards the same and just change the ranks.

Try these heads-up 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 ("good enough to go broke with"), and it's happened many times.



Just leave the suits as they were and click the ranks to change them for these examples.

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


Now try it 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 run it with 7 7 against 9 8 . The sevens are a slightly smaller favorite. But why? The sevens are still up against two overcards.

Could it be that because the 9 8 is a "connector" hand? Connected cards with consecutive ranks are far easier to make straights with than "gappers" like K 9 .

And 9 8 can make several higher straights than the sevens could. Those kinds of differences can and will 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?



Could it be 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 the actual difference in percentages is small but still noticeable.
 
Domination

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 preflop: 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. But sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. In certain situations you have no choice. For example, if you're deep in a tournament and you have only a few big blinds left, you'll need to strongly consider pushing with any ace.

The way to specify "any ace" in FlopCruncher Lite is to select "Wild" from the ace's suit menu. To specify "any club" you'd select "Wild" from the card's rank menu, then select "Clubs" from its rank menu. To specify "any card" you'd select "Wild" from the card's rank and suit menus. This wild card feature gives you the option of runninng the hands with semi-wild or fully wild cards.

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.

 
Suitedness

How much difference does suitedness make? Let's try re-running "The Nightmare Scenario", but this time with different suits.



You should run these scenarios a few times to minimize the "luck factor":
  • A A vs. A K
  • 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. And if the ace-king's suits are different than the pocket rockets' suits, the ace-king chances improve just a tiny bit.

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


And once 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?
 
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.

Now select "+1 player" from the "others" menu and run it again. Still a big favorite against two random hands.



Keep increasing the number of other players 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 but you also need to thin the herd a bit.