This poker tool is a game changer.
Figuring out what hands are strong and what hands are weak is the first strategic concept poker players should learn.
As poker players we are constantly assessing how strong our hand is in both an absolute and relative way. Sometimes this is easy to do intuitively. Often times it is not so obvious or even deceptively counter-intuitive.
The first thing we need to do is use the actions of each player in the hand to refine our opinion of what someone’s range is. Once we’ve done that however we still haven’t necessarily answered the question of how strong is our hand. Luckily there’s a poker tool out there to help out.
In comes Hand Matrix Software…
Hand Matrix software is the most basic and one of the most important tools we have to help understand how poker works.
It allows us to figure out exactly how much equity our hand or range has versus an opponent’s hand or range.
For instance, let’s say we have [TT] and our opponent has [Qs9s] on [Jh-8s-4h]. We know that we have the best hand, but what does that mean in a mathematical or equity sense?
We have the best hand or will have the best hand on the river 78.03% of the time. This is distinctly different than a situation where our opponent hand [Qh9h]:
Where we will only have the best hand on the river a little bit more often than half the time. Even though a pair of tens is much stronger than queen high right now, it may not be with cards to come. Thinking about hands in terms of equity rather than absolute hand strength on a precise street is a much better way to understand hand values.
First, it gives a far more accurate picture of how strong your hand really is. Often times amateur poker players get wrapped up in “the best hand”. Having it, not having it, and being upset when an opponent’s “worse hand” improves to become “the best hand”. We feel that they overlook what a hand really is. A hand is a combination of five cards. Preflop you only have 2/7 of the the total cards to be dealt, on the flop 5/7. It is very unusual to have a hand that is going to win a showdown 100% of times by the river and it literally impossible preflop!
As we all know-
“There’s always a chance”
Second, by ignoring the uncertainty or turning preflop or the flop into a binary “I have the best hand” or “I don’t have the best hand” you set yourself up for psychological problems. The best hand preflop or on the flop is guaranteed to lose a large % of the time. Poker player often times play long sessions and many hands. If every time you have the “best hand” and lose by the river it ends up chipping away at your psyche you are guaranteed to become tilted, upset, frustrated, etc playing poker.
The more you embrace what a hand really is the better you will play and happier you will be.
(Note: Take the first step to mastering preflop play with Ryan Fee’s article 12 Preflop Mistakes You Must Avoid to Move Up in Stakes)