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Expected Value (EV) In Poker

In modern poker there are many techniques and terms that should be taken into account, and which you should know if you want to master this game. One of the most important components is the Expected Value (EV).

If you hear this term for the first time, you can be sure that you will come across it in the course of your professional career very often.

What is EV?

Expected Value in poker is a term that applies to money you expect to lose or win in the game. It is expressed in terms of numbers, and it is calculated in each specific situation individually basing on the different variants of the game development.

It is important to note that in the world of poker there are two terms to denote EV-games:

  1. +EV-game is a game which suggests positive EV, and which in future will bring you profit;
  2. -EV-game is a game which suggests negative EV. Playing this game you will only lose your money.

How to calculate EV in poker?

In fact, it is quite simple to calculate EV. All that you should do is to multiply every possible outcome, by the probability of that outcome happening, and then add those numbers altogether.

Despite its simplicity, there are several examples to count this indicator.

A simple example. Let’s consider Expected Value in terms of the famous game of heads or tails. Both sides have the same chances to win. Accordingly, if the game is played fairly, sooner or later in any case everybody will be at their money. This is due to the fact that one player can lose ten times in a row, but then he will get his own back, as the chances are equal.

Alternative counting of EV

This method will help you to show a net profit of the bet:

  • EV = Pot Equity – bet

In terms of the above mentioned heads or tails game, let’s suggest that both players before the start of every game place a forced bet of $ 1. Despite the fact that chances of the heads and tails have not changed, the winner will take $ 2 from every victory.

According to the formula, for calculation we need pot equity, which is the share of every player’s money. Thus, we have the following formula:

  • EV (of the bet) = Pot Equity – bet = 1$ – 1$ = 0

What are the benefits of the Expected Value?

If you have an opportunity to take decisions with the most expected value, you can easily win maximum amount of money from every hand played.

Thus, we can conclude that the more the player takes + EV-decisions at the table, the more money he can win. Here everything is quite simple. It is important to understand that in reality to calculate EV can be harder than in the above examples.