Odds Calculators for Texas Holdem
In the world of online poker, as in so many fields, information is king. To be successful in poker you need to beware of the statistical reality of the game. The first and most shocking statistic is that only 5% of players make money playing poker leaving the rest of us to either play for the enjoyment of the game or lose money gracefully under the delusion of self brilliance. Most new poker players underestimate the skills required and by definition they don’t have the experience to succeed (hence the term “fish”).
The first step in advancing your game is to accept the reality above and learn from it – learn by understanding the weakness in your game and accepting help as and when it presents itself. Help can come in many forms but the most obvious is to accept that you are not a mathematical genius and therefore unlikely to instantly be able to rework the statistics of each card on the Flop, Turn and River. Even if you are a gifted mathematician you’d be foolish to apply brainpower to the mathematical side of the card game when there are so many other facets to be mastered such as table position, player reading and situational bluffing strategies.
With the above in mind I set out to find and deploy a poker odds calculator to aid my own personal play. Having played the game for years I have a good sense of the maths but occasional reminders of odds faced in certain hands can be a good aid to playing strategy. Looking at the existing market for odds calculators I struggled to find one that covered all the bases I was looking for. In general odds calculators provide a mix of the following functions:
- Initial hole card hand ranking (out of 169 possible starting combinations)
- Odds of winning based on a simple calculation of your starting hand rank and the number of opponents at the table
- Auto screen reading of cards
- The odds of you making a hand based on what you currently have and the likelihood of the remaining cards to come improving your hand. This can be either a simple percentage improvement or preferably percentage likelihood of making each type of hand.
- Number of outs – a point in time count of the number of cards that can improve your position based on a single card to come.
- Pot odds
- Opponent odds – Odds of your opponents beating you based on numbers of opponents, Community Cards on display and the mathematical possibilities based on the 2 cards they hold that you can’t see.
The Texas Holdem Odds Calculators I looked at were in my opinion lacking functionality. Half the calculators didn’t even automatically screen read your cards (lets be honest who is going to manually input cards?) and those that did screen reading typically did so by reading the chat box. The remainder offered a mix of the above calculations with the exception of opponent odds. Opponent odds are really what players would like to know because it is the next best thing to seeing your opponents’ cards. The trouble with opponent odds and the reason you don’t find it on most of the odds calculators on the market today is that the calculations involved are complex in the extreme and beyond the mathematical abilities of most people, players and programmers alike. The number of potential situations given 3, 4, then 5 cards on the board and the number of additional possibilities of 2 hidden cards per player with up to 9 opponents (18 hidden cards max) literally gives millions of possible outcomes. Apart from the mathematics, programmers also run into the difficulty of computer power versus the number of outcomes and the need to produce results in 2 seconds or less in order to be useful to online poker players.
Having reviewed the available calculators and found some quite useful it became clear that there was no such thing as a perfect odds calculator on the market. Interested in the challenge we set about programming HoldemPokerCalc a proprietary odds calculator.
HoldemPokerCalc set out to be the best poker odds calculator on the market and in that I think we succeeded. The program auto screen reads cards in real time and due to some very clever low level programming and mathematics we were able to return accurate odds calculations faster than most if not all other calculators in the market today. Best of all we cracked the near impossible Opponent Odds calculation, which to our knowledge makes this product unique. The program runs on 10 of the most popular rooms around and feedback from our members is overwhelmingly positive.
Graham Easton is the webmaster of texashold-empoker.com, the author of this article and the owner of HoldemPokerCalc.