In poker, the phrase “equity distributions” refers to the allocation of the pot among players based on their equity in the hand. It’s a key component of poker and understanding it can help you make smarter choices at the table.
Learning how to utilize and interpret various equity distributions is an invaluable skill to have as part of your online poker game strategy.
Read on for a closer examination of equity distributions, the importance of understanding your hand’s equity against your opponent’s range, and how equity distribution shapes your poker strategy in various scenarios.
How Equity Distribution Impacts Your Decision-Making
Equity is the portion of the pot that each player is entitled to based on their chances of winning the hand. It is one of the fundamentals of poker.
Imagine a poker tournament with two players and a total pot of $100. If Player A has an equity of 70%, they’re entitled to win 70% of the pot, which is $70. In other words, equity simply refers to “your piece of the pie.”
Equity distribution plays an important role in decision-making as it helps players to assess the potential value of their hands. Armed with this knowledge, they can make informed choices about whether to bet, raise, call, or fold.
Understanding Your Hand’s Equity Against Your Opponent’s Range
Equity is your share of the pot proportionate to your current chances of winning the hand. Here’s a typical example. If you go all-in with an AK of clubs and get called by red queens, you’ll win roughly 46% of the time.
This means that if you and your opponent each put $100 into the pot, on average, you’ll get $92 (which 46% of $200, ignoring the rake for the sake of simplicity). Mathematically, equity is defined as follows: Equity% = (win% + 0.5 tie%).
On a poker equity chart, this would mean that if a hand wins 50%, chops 20%, and loses 30%, it has 60% equity (or -150 in moneyline odds). There are three common ways of expressing equity.
1. Hand vs. Hand Equity
The AK example above describes how much equity a particular hand has against any other hand. If you’re an experienced player, you should be able to quickly identify how most starting hands fare against each other. If you’re a newer player, you should, after some time and practice, become adept at memorizing the equity associated with specific holdings.
2. Hand vs. Range Equity
While the idea is simple, estimating this kind of equity requires deeper knowledge and experience. An example of hand versus range equity is 84.83% (odds of -559), for AA against a wide button open range (50% of all poker hands).
3. Range vs. Range Equity
This is by far the hardest kind of equity to estimate, as both ranges can consist of dozens of hands. It’s almost impossible for a human to memorize the equities of all the possible ranges versus other ranges. With some practice, you can refine your skills and achieve high accuracy in the most commonly used estimations.
It’s important to note that all of the above equity calculations can be done for preflop and any postflop board combinations (flop, turn, or river). In case of the latter, the degree of difficulty in estimating the equity increases.
How Equity Shapes Your Strategy in Different Poker Scenarios
In poker, the alignment of your equity distribution with that of your opponent significantly influences both the frequency and size of your bets. This applies specifically in two scenarios.
1. When There‘s a Large, Consistent Gap Between the Two Ranges
Here, the player with the stronger range should bet more frequently. When it comes to the flop, the bigger the gap between the equity distributions of the two ranges, the more aggressive the in-position player can play. His opponent simply does not have the hands in his range to combat the increased aggression.
2. When There’s a Gap in the Top 20% Of the Ranges
In this scenario, the player who has a greater number of strong hands should make larger bets, also known as having “the nut advantage.” The key takeaway here is that the size of your advantage at the upper end of the ranges should directly influence the size of your bets. This holds true across all stages of the game tree (flop, turn, and river).
Test Your Equity Distribution With BetMGM
It takes time to make the mathematical aspects of poker your own, but the information offered here provides a general and solid base for understanding the more unusual scenarios. If you’d like to dive deeper and learn more about equity distribution and pick up some other advanced poker tips for when you next play poker online, register with BetMGM.