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  • coin flips

    In keeping with the desire to have some good posts on this forum, I will open this topic.

    What are coin flips? In a pure sense they are a 50/50 proposition. That is seldom the case in poker.
    I have never seen it defined in any book, only used in speech, but I have seen some people apply it to situations what were far from 50/50.
    My personal limits are anything wider than a 55%/45% does not qualify as a coin flip.
    .
    All odds stated here are derived from the odds calculator at Cardplayer Magazine.
    Lets look at the following cases
    A pair vs 2 over cards: 52/48% This is about as close to a coin flip as you will get in poker.

    AJ vs KQ is a 60/40 . This is NOT a flip. Confusion exists because some equate that with a card above and below the KQ that the ace is cancelled and all is equal. NOT SO. The AJ wins by default if nothing else hits. The KQ MUST improve to win.

    QQ vs. QK is 68/ 32 This is NOT a flip.

    overpair vs. underpair is 81% vs 19% This is NOT a flip yet ironically is probably the one I hear most often incorrectly referred to as one. This mistake comes from not differentiating between the chances of IMPROVING from the chances of WINNING.
    It is true the chance of improving is a coin flip as each hand has 2 card out of 48 to improve but the underpair MUST improve to WIN the hand.

    Feel free to express your thoughts.

  • #2
    the only hands I refer to as a coin-flip are..... pair vs 2 over cards (irrelevant whether they are suited or not... still a flip in my eyes).
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    • #3
      I've always thought of the AJ vs. KQ example as sort of a coin flip, but I guess 60 and 40 really aren't that close together. Perhaps AQ and KJ are more coin-flippy.

      I guess the underpair example is the only one that really is a coin flip. Makes me feel more confident in AK, really.

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      • #4
        Most books I've read define a "coin flip" as a pocket pair vs. two overcards, usually big slick (AK). Think of it more as a poker expression than a true mathematical fact.

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        • #5
          hobojim is on point.........the only true flip is a pair vs. two overs.

          i tried to explain the A K vs. Q J thing the other day to a friend.....

          the reason why A K is about 60 / 40 is because even though the Q J is live, it still has to hit to win. that's why i don't understand players who say they hate A K.....If you make a raise preflop with A K and get called by any of the other two high card hands, they have to hit to win. I will take good ol' A K anyday in good position.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
            I've always thought of the AJ vs. KQ example as sort of a coin flip, but I guess 60 and 40 really aren't that close together. Perhaps AQ and KJ are more coin-flippy.

            I guess the underpair example is the only one that really is a coin flip. Makes me feel more confident in AK, really.
            Out of curiosity I did the following checks;

            AK vs QQ = 44% to 56%
            AK va 22 = 48% to 52%

            The difference is due to the possibility of the board pairing twice and counterfeiting the underpair.
            Last edited by hobojim11247; Mon Mar 07, 2011, 09:49 PM. Reason: correct mistake in original post

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hobojim11247 View Post
              AK vs QQ = 44% to 56%
              AK va QQ = 48% to 52%

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              • #8
                second AK is sooted would be my guess

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                • #9
                  i'll chime in on this jim

                  to me a coin flip is when you are forced to go all in preflop
                  no matter what i am holding unlesss it's AA or AKs i am uncomfortable going all in preflop
                  you don't get to see a flop so it's anyone guess who will hit
                  this is what leads to so many complaints about donks and suckouts from a 74off when all in with AQs
                  if you had seen the flop of 7x7 or 7x4 and the other player threw his chips in you could back away
                  same to be said if the flop was QxQ or AxQ or even sxs you can decide the value of your hand post flop

                  when left with no choice such as holding AKs or your short stack near crippled with TT you can be forced to call all in to play your hand without knowing the strength of said hand leading me to believe it as being a coin flip for only luck will decide your 50/50 fate of winning
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                  • #10
                    Agree with previous posters, "coin flip" is generally the reference for a pocket pair vs. 2 overcards preflop, which is usually NOT exactly 50/50 but within the 46-54 range. It is, in fact, a reference and not a mathematical expression. Also the term as properly applied should be a reference of hand equity in going to showdown. If you have QQ vs. AK on 100 bb stacks and there is a preflop raise to 3x and a player calls, this is not a "coin flip" as there are still 97 bb's left to bet post flop and it is rare that this hand will actually end with a showdown.

                    Preflop AKs. vs 22 is pretty close to 50/50:

                    equity win tie pots won pots tied
                    Hand 0: 49.893% 49.57% 00.32% 20370432 133374.00 { AKs }
                    Hand 1: 50.107% 49.78% 00.32% 20458116 133374.00 { 22 }

                    Here's a fairly close flop example that would not be uncommon for 2 players to get it in on the flop... 2 overs + nut flush draw vs. an overpair (even with the pair having 1 of the flush outs the "draw" is a slight favorite).:

                    Board: 2c 9h 6h
                    Dead:

                    equity win tie pots won pots tied
                    Hand 0: 48.573% 49.18% 00.00% 2863350 0.00 { QcQh }
                    Hand 1: 51.427% 52.07% 00.00% 3031734 0.00 { AhKh }
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                    • #11
                      i have to ask you guys this about the coin flip and the odds. do you consider these odds when it seems your luck is running pretty bad, do odds are even consider and do you keep a good track records of all the hands you play to acheive these odds, for example, aj vs kq should win 60% of the time base off you playing 100 hands, but what if the odds are reverse and you finds yourself loosing the majority of these hands, do you switch up or stay with the odds, isn't poker about making adjustments if a certain hand is not working for you??

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                      • #12
                        tariq.............i get what u are saying, but 100 hands is not enough to make a study on odds..........

                        math is math, and i think most would agree that over a longer amount of time u will see that the odds fluctuate a little of course, but should be in the ranges given

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                        • #13
                          Don't panic, I corrected the post so it makes sense.

                          Thank you for the explanation of how it affects cash game, Dave.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by roomik17 View Post
                            second AK is sooted would be my guess
                            I think you may have misread the above Roomik. AK vs 22 if the Board comes 10 10 9 7 7 then the 22 is counterfeited, as there are now TWO HIGHER PAIRS on the board, and the A comes into play as the higher kicker. no offense intended. umbup:
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TARIQ06 View Post
                              i have to ask you guys this about the coin flip and the odds. do you consider these odds when it seems your luck is running pretty bad, do odds are even consider and do you keep a good track records of all the hands you play to acheive these odds, for example, aj vs kq should win 60% of the time base off you playing 100 hands, but what if the odds are reverse and you finds yourself loosing the majority of these hands, do you switch up or stay with the odds, isn't poker about making adjustments if a certain hand is not working for you??

                              No I do not change my play based on results. Odds are the same regardless of results. The more hands you play the closer the ratio of the outcome will mirror the odds.

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