Your first chance to gain an edge over your opponents is with your starting hands. Some hands, like suited connectors, have longer odds of improving and thus do better when you have more money/players in the pot. Other hands, like big Pocket Pairs such as AA or KK, are already "made" hands and do better with fewer players drawing against them.
Just knowing what hands to play from what position and how to play them will give a player a big edge.
An even bigger edge comes from knowing your opponents and their likely actions and reactions.
This article will give you a good idea of what to expect from starting hands and how often to expect them.
Your Odds = Your Opponents Odds
Your odds of getting any of the hands shown below are exactly the same as for any one of your opponents.
While it is true that you will find rags in the hole four out of five times - it is also true that four out of five of your opponents will also find rags in the hole.
The tables, calculations and methods below demonstrate the characteristics of a normal distribution of starting hands.
From this, a player can always have an idea of what to expect and how often to expect it, plus a good idea of both the individual and collective expectations of his opponents.
In a full 10-handed Hold'em game, some reasonable expectations about starting hands and some derived points of inference from those expectations are as follows:
- Once in an average of approximately every 55 hands (5.5 rounds) seen by you or by any one of your opponents, you or that specific opponent will receive a pair of Jacks or better in the hole. The corollary follows.
- Once in roughly every 5.5 hands (slightly less often than twice every round) someone - anyone at the table - will receive a pair of Jacks or better in the hole.
- Playing online at 4 tables simultaneously with an average of 60 hands per hour per table, someone at one of the 4 tables will have a pair of Jacks or better in the hole roughly every 80 seconds.
- Slightly more often than once every other round (1 in 17 hands) you or any specific one of your opponents will receive a Pocket Pair.
- On average, for every 17 sets of hole cards dealt, which is slightly more than once every other hand, someone at the table will hold a Pocket Pair.
- With over 80% of possible starting hands designated as rags, with not every non-rag hand playable in every situation, and with the exception of blinds and special situations, upwards of 90% of any player's starting hands should be deemed unplayable.
- On average there will be almost 2 non-rag hands dealt per round. If 3 or more non-blind players pay to see the Flop on a consistent basis, you can tell how loose or tight that game is.
- If any particular player pays to see the Flop more than once every three hands, assume that for at least some of those hands, he's playing rags.