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It’s a Relative Thing!

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Dec 11, 2013

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Hand strength in poker is not necessarily about making big hands. Yeah, it’s great to make the “nuts,” but assessing hand strength in hold’em is something that’s relative to your opponent’s current hand range, not how it measures by nominal rank. By nominal rank, I mean assessing a hand’s strength solely on its ranked strength, not by its “rated” strength. An example being that 2-2 is nominally ranked higher than A-K, though it is an inferior preflop holding. Preflop, A-K is a much better hand against A-Q than 5-5 is, because A-K, played correctly, will extract far more money from A-Q than the two fives will, even though 5-5 is a hand of higher ranking than A-K. A more accurate quantification of hand value is a hand’s propensity to make money in the current situation. In other words, what’s the hands current expected value (EV)? Weak players tend to focus ...


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