Showtime Poker – Working out the odds
By Simon Hemsworth

The feature of Showtime Poker of allowing you to see folded cards allows us to calculate with greater certainty the odds of hitting our draw. Except in the extreme circumstance of no one folding their hands preflop, we will also have some extra information to work with postflop. When playing on a 6-max table most postflop situations will only be with one other opponent so assuming the table is full that's eight (!) extra cards we get to see which is very significant.

These eight cards can be great for our drawing hand (as in there's still lots of cards for us to hit) or terrible (our outs are already in the muck), or somewhere in between. Therefore it's important to not just blindly play our hand as we would in a regular No Limit Hold'em game where we don't have the knowledge of folded hands. To analyse this further we'll look at some examples of how your hand strength changes with various drawing hands.

Small pairs and sets

As I'm sure you're aware, the strength of small pairs in deeper stacked instances comes with the ability to hit a set and hopefully win a big pot against a weaker holding. In regular NLHE your chances of flopping a set are approximately 11.8% which never leads to very good direct odds, but usually with appealing applied odds where further money goes into the pot in later streets.

In Showtime Poker let's assume we open 3-3 on the button and the big blind 3-bets. In this circumstance we will see eight folded cards.  Assuming none of those contain a 3 there are are now 42 cards left in the deck and two of those are 3's. This is compared to the usual 50 we would be drawing from which means considerably fewer flop combinations and a poker odds calculator tells us the chances of flopping a set jumps to close to 14%. Perhaps not the most enticing jump in odds but it's very significant when we're dealing with the fine margins of poker.

However, let's imagine that one of our 3's has already been folded. In this instance our chances of hitting a set on the flop drop to a lowly 7.14%. Clearly we will be needing an exceptional price or some other circumstances to continue in the hand here when we get 3-bet. My general advice: Fold.

Open ended straight draw

Let's say you are in a single raised pot with 7d-6h on an 8s-9h-2c flop.  In this scenario the only 'proper' outs you have are the four 5s and four 10s left in the deck. The 5 is obviously the dream card as it makes quite an inconspicuous nuts for you, whereas the 10 could still mean your opponent wakes up with Q-J in some sort of horrible cooler situation.

The reason I call those the only 'proper' outs is that 7-6 still has some pair/backdoor two pair/backdoor trips equity. However, in this scenario a pair would be weak on this board and the backdoor outs very unlikely so can be discounted somewhat.

Let's also imagine that this scenario is three handed in Showtime Poker and we know six of the folded cards and none of them are a 5 or 10.  We have a 35.6% chance of hitting by the river. But if the folded cards show two of those outs our chances of getting there go down to 27.4% and if our out are reduced further to four then it's down to 18.78% by the river.The course of how this theoretical hand plays out could change this as one opponent could fold on the flop changing the course of the action (especially with more folded cards!). You could be priced out on the river if a lot of aggression is shown on the turn, especially three handed where ranges will be stronger than in a heads-up pot. In general, a good rule to go by is to chase less in these situations where you know you have fewer good outs.

Flush Draw

Flush draws are preferable to open-ended straight draws in the sense that you have nine outs compared to eight and you know, it's higher in the hand rankings! We could have a dream situation where we have BOTH draws with a hand like 8h-7h on 3s-5h-6h and in a heads-up pot we somehow see no hearts, 4s or 9s in the folded cards. This would be considered the nut situation in Showtime poker and he have a whopping 62.75% of hitting one of our 15 outs by the river. This is a very much a 'get in as much money as possible with awesome equity' spot in this game.

Clearly the general rule with Showtime Poker is to keep a careful watch of those folded cards when playing drawing hands and if you see your outs in the muck, be conservative and when you don't, go crazy!