Expected value (EV) is a key concept in poker that refers to the average amount of money that a player can expect to win or lose in a given situation. Understanding expected value is essential for making good decisions at the poker table, and it is a fundamental principle that is used by professional players to assess the potential outcomes of their actions. In this article, we will examine the basics of expected value and how it works in the game of poker.
Expected value is calculated by multiplying the probability of a certain outcome by the amount of money that can be won or lost in that outcome. For example, consider a situation in which a player has a 50% chance of winning $100 and a 50% chance of losing $50. The expected value of this situation would be calculated as follows:
EV = (0.5 * $100) + (0.5 * -$50) = $25
In this example, the expected value of the situation is $25, which means that the player can expect to win an average of $25 every time they make this decision.
Expected value can also be used to compare different potential outcomes and determine which is the most advantageous. For example, consider a situation in which a player has the option to make a $100 bet with a 50% chance of winning $200 or a $50 bet with a 75% chance of winning $100. In this situation, the expected value of the first option would be:
EV1 = (0.5 * $200) + (0.5 * -$100) = $50
And the expected value of the second option would be:
EV2 = (0.75 * $100) + (0.25 * -$50) = $62.50
Since the expected value of the second option is higher than the first, the player should make the $50 bet, as it offers the highest expected return.
It is important to note that expected value is only an estimate of the average outcome, and actual results may vary widely from the expected value. This is because expected value is based on probabilities, and these probabilities are subject to random fluctuations. Nevertheless, expected value provides a useful framework for thinking about the potential outcomes of different actions in poker, and it is a valuable tool for making informed decisions at the table.
In conclusion, expected value in poker is a crucial concept in the game of poker, and it is essential for any player who wants to make good decisions and improve their results. By understanding how expected value works, players can assess the potential outcomes of their actions and make informed decisions that maximize their chances of winning.