Hand Calculators

@1Warlock ,

Because I ask’d about that chart in the other thread, decided to split it off into this one. I searched and found an array of calculators up to and including reatime ones. Sounds like you know this subject, so … 1-2 of the ones I ran across included “dead cards” but you had to name them, they couldn’t be random.

Does the 1 you use, or any you have run across,
include random dead cards as an option?

What is your stance on realtime calculators ?

Can you make the case why everytone should
have/learn 2use hand calculators ?

I’m happy to give my opinion but I’m not sure what type of calculators you are looking for. Equity calculators? Solvers? Push/fold calculators? If you give me an idea of what you are trying to do, I will help if I can.

As to real-time or in-game tools, I am 100% against their use and wish there was a way to eliminate them. I think they are ruining the game. I’m a bit of a purist and I don’t even like the use of HUD’s, though I use one when I’m not playing anonymous tables. I think you should be able to use any tool or training device you want off the tables but once you sit down to play, it should be unaided human vs unaided human.


Concur, 100%. I have no desire to play against a machine.


Prob the players that dont have a strong psychological/all the other aspects of the game type of play in their game, then it might be helpful for the so called odds based type player that cant grasp those other aspects into their game and rely or need to rely more on those ways to learn to win more. Agree that it may be a good learning tool off the table for those type of players who like to focus more of their play style on that. IMO i still think all the other aspects of the game are more relevant because you have to learn to play the player and every type of player to be profitable regardless of what those calculators teach you. Although it seems like it would be a good tool for some players looking to implement more things like that into their game or at least learn them.

If you are playing against people who are nice enough to let you know how they are playing, this holds true. You know what they’re doing but they don’t know what you’re doing. Its an easy game when you are the most skilled player in the mix. As you start to play people who are not so kind, then you need to develop a deeper skill set. Understanding relative ranges so you can define them preflop is one of the 1st skills necessary. Then how that hand v range fares on different board textures. Then range v range(s), stack size manipulation, and so on. The player who understands how much he is entitled to bet on any given street, given the board texture and previous actions is going to feast on those who don’t. No amount of psychology is going to overcome a massive skill deficit.

It is always important to be at or near the top of the skill range no matter who or where you are playing. The skills you will need are entirely dependent on who you are playing against. Fortunately, there are orders of magnitude more unskilled players than skilled ones. People with some skill can do very well vs the unskilled population. If and when a player wants to start competing with better players or increase their winrates, adding implementable skills/knowledge becomes critical.

Long story short - I think anyone who wants to do better at this game should become familiar with equity interactions and bet sizing/frequencies. Without this knowledge, all you can do is value-own other players. Your betting frequencies and sizes will give your hand away to better players. You will massively under or over-bluff and not on the best board textures. Its a matter of pushing edges and the edges get smaller and smaller as the player pool gets better and better.

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ya i agree with what u say but i was referring to more skilled players that already have a good grasp on those skills that u mentioned…because at this point you are playing diff players at every different table with new players coming on and off the table frequently and it is extremely important to be able to read players well on any given hand at any table and mix up your game as much as possible to not get exploited too much… it still boils down to playing the player/players because the players u play are always changing and is a new skill that u have to adjust to and its an ongoing skill as long as you are playing poker anywhere. odds etc are set in stone based on cards and not the players holding them. but of course every tool you can learn and utilize in your game just makes your arsenal that much stronger. but ya im speaking on behalf of the more skilled player that already has a decent arsenal and decent knowledge of the game. Everything is very important in poker if you want a consistent win rate and be profitable. At this level of play it also comes down to everyone thats a very good/great player plays a different style in some sort of fashion and they all have or favor different traits at different levels than the other players. Different things just work better for different players and that comfort level they gain from that starts to shape or mold their style of play that just works well for them over time.

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What are they, what can they teach a player ?
( Do you know of any that allow random dead cards ? )

Equity calculators will teach how hands/ranges fare vs other hands/ranges across different board textures. Equilab and Flopzilla are both very good. I prefer Flopzilla for hand vs range analysis. If I had to recommend 1 program for people looking to improve their understanding of the game, Flopzilla would be it. Easy to use and provides great information about equity, hand strengths and so on. You can see how a hand does vs a range on flop, turn and river so you can make decisions on how you’d like to proceed.

Solvers will teach a player how to balance their actions on every street so that they have the appropriate number of value bets and bluffs at all times. It will help with bet sizes and frequencies. Piosolver is the most commonly used on but it is expensive and probably not necessary until a player reaches a very high level of game.

Push/fold programs are for SnG/MTT players who want to work on short-stacked optimal solutions. They take into account ICM implications. ICMIZER is the best program for this by far. There are apps that people use and just blindly follow - these are terrible IMO. Blindly following a chart without any understanding of why is just not a great way to go.

Flopzilla has a random deal built in. Equilab and Pio do not. You can use a feature on Random.org to generate random flops. Their program is based on atmospheric noise, not on pRNG algorithms. People also use their RNG to randomize actions where optimal play suggests mixed strategies.

Sounds like a good tool but do you actually think that if you take into consideration that this is online free poker with so many more callers and limpers and the crazy bets/plays you see here compared to live that that it would be a bit off and flawed? how does all that come into play as far as the type of play u see on free poker sites like here compared to using that tool for more moderate/rational play on lets say a 2/5 or 5/10 play in live? Just wondering if that type of tool would even be somewhat accurate or useful here, there, or both?

I don’t think the products themselves are flawed but sometimes how we apply what we learn is. The biggest problem I have had is that I am predisposed to thinking that other people will play the game like I do. Thinking they have the same strategies or goals or level of knowledge. I’ll think “no one bets 3rd pair here multiway so it has to be TP+ or nothing”. Nope, they sometimes bet 3rd pair. They were not thinking like I was so my assumptions were wrong. Garbage in, garbage out.

If you can take yourself out of your own way and start to assign the ranges people actually play (vs what they should play), then these tools become very helpful on practical levels, no matter the stakes or opponents. They are tools for learning, not cheat-sheets on how to win every time. They will help someone find the errors in their own game and understand why they are in fact errors. With this knowledge, they will then be able to see the errors in other players’ games more easily. More importantly, they will learn the best way to exploit those errors in others.

Because I have been down this path, I can tell you that none of these tools are panaceas. They are learning resources. If used properly, they can help us gain a more complete understanding of what is going on. In a game where no one can ever attain perfect information, the edge will always go to the player who has the most of it. Its the same principle as position - being in position gives us the most information and therefore is the most valuable place to be. Having the most information about the game of anyone at the table is as big an advantage as position is.


I think the best way to use such tools is to try to predict the results before you run the program. Do this enough and you won’t need them any more.

The worst way to use them is to adjust your opponent’s range until the result justifies your play. Believe it or not, people do this.

Keep in mind that any tool that gives you equity vs a random hand will over-estimate your equity in the real world. You won’t be playing against totally random hands.

Do the math until you don’t have to do the math. It should become intuitive at some point.

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Really good points. Any tool is only as useful as we allow it to be. Also agreed that the goal should be to learn the material enough so that it becomes intuitive. A tool like Flopzilla was very useful to me because it laid out the information visually. I could see all the possible hands that fell into each category and what % of the total they represented. This allowed me to understand how much of any range was subject to being pressured … Conbinatorics isn’t easy to learn for most people. Seeing it visually represented can be a big help.

Once you are ok with simple equity assumptions, then the hand v range and range v range work can begin. The learning needs to begin somewhere and one concept builds on another.


I ask’d about dead cards for 2 reasons, not random flops, here’s why …

2 of the programs I ran across had a row for dead cards @ bottom, but couldn’t be set to RND. Because of the ““Burn cards”” thread, I wanted to see what calculators would show or not, odds chgs.

Also since I don’t use any of the 3 types you listed, I was looking for a compelling reason to think about getting one/some/all of what you listed.

While I’m on the fence about realtime helpers, Hand loggers that would make data available for any hand seen/played against ( with publically known info, so I mean if someone showed cards you know what they had, if they muck then you do not have that info ) across many pokersites, so data is always organized to the user the same way, would seem to be a big help.

Again though, dry data… leaves out too much. Player A might 3! 50% of the time, but 90% of those might be against worse/specific players. Perhaps most of those are with a specific chipstack adv. , or in a specific posistion.

If on the other hand a logger… log’d everything possible (known legally) , then yes I can see a benefit if thus I can search that data and gleam something like, ohhh
Of the 14 times Warlock has 3! me, after a flop, 9 times I was OOP, 11 times I was stacked and by how much on ave. , ave size of raise was xx, and ave % to win was yy.

While not in realtime, that info would allow players to see over time, down to a personal level, what players are doing to them and in what situations. They could see what works and what doesn’t on a situational level. I could even see teaching tools, that given hand data, could go back and coach a player on mistakes made depending on certain goals and stratagies.

I have long wondered about “other programs”. I don’t want any site I go to having the power to peer into my computer to see what is multi-tasking. So I see calculators / solvers / AIs in the same light as 3rd party chat clients, … your poker site will never be able to know they are running, so he who has the best tech usually wins. (I dont)

Any calculator that I would use, needs to have Rnd dead cards available. I want the knowledge of how the same hand is different, depending on if I play it Online or Live. Personally, if AIs can beat Kasperov, its only a matter of time till there are fierce poker AIs/bots.

Back on topic tho, I do see value is ““de-briefing”” myself on my play. Being able to step thru each hand, and see %s as hands evolve. Watch as other players play certain %s. Perhaps I watch it go from 85/15 to 80/20 to 70/30 to 40/60 when that certain river shows up. So players could see what the ““real”” gotcha cards are, and how frequently they might show up.

Thanks Warlock, not sure you cleared anything up, but you gave me food for thought.

Since we can’t know the values of the dead cards, there’s no reason to include a feature allowing them to be included. Our best predictive models are based on a uniform distribution, with the calculation reflecting the center of the statistical distribution bell curve.

We can illustrate this with a common situation: flopping a flush draw with 8 people at the table. I’ll round the numbers to the nearest whole number to make life easier.

There are 52 cards in the deck and we have seen 3 on the flop plus our 2 hole cards, leaving 47 unseen cards. There are 13 of each suit, and we have 2 spades (for example) in our hole and 2 came on the flop, leaving 9 spades out to make our flush. The chance of the next card being a spade is thus 9 in 47, which is about 19%.

Our 7 opponents each have 2 hole cards, we have burned one card, and we will burn another before the turn. This makes a total of 16 dead cards, and leaves 31 cards undealt.

Since 31 is almost twice 16, we should expect there to be 3 spades in the “dead” cards and 6 in the remaining 31 undealt deck. The chance of the next card being a spade is thus 6 in 31, which works out to 19%, which is the same as 9 in 47.

Because 47 isn’t evenly divisible by 3, the numbers don’t work out exactly, but we can’t have 3.33 spades in the dead cards, so it’s close enough.

There will be times where there are no spades in the dead cards and times where all of the spades are dead, but we can’t know this. The best we can do is assume an “average” distribution and work from there. The center of the distribution bell curve is also the most common distribution. The weird outliers do happen, but they happen far less often.

I’m not sure this answers your question, but I gave it a shot!

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I wasn’t looking to Re-Debate the Burn Cards thread. I see no other reason to even have dead cards as an option, other than simulating specific burn cards.

Thanks , but you answered a question I never ask’d…lolol…

Using a HUD to gather hand histories and then uploading them to something like Pokertracker or HEM4 is great. There aren’t any HUD’s that are compatible with Replay as far as I know. I’d love to see something done in this regard so that players could use this site to train more effectively if they wished. I don’t know what it would take to get that done and since this is a recreational venue I’m not sure its something they want to devote resources to.

As to the burn card thing - I don’t spend time thinking about it, online or live. It is what it is and if its the same for everyone I don’t see how it could affect my decisions one way or another. I guess I look at it the same way I look at the dirty-water dogs I get from hot dog stands from time to time. I don’t really want to know what goes into them. I just assume they aren’t more harmful to me than to everyone else, throw some mustard on them and enjoy :slight_smile:

lol 1 warlock, thats exactly where i was trying to go with that… predisposed thinking that others will play like you do and having the same strategies,goals, and knowledge level of the game. ( which will never be the same in any of those traits with any 2 players ) That right there is the biggest obstacle of all of this and why I brought it up. Its actually impossible to be precise on those things and requires a whole other strategy within itself that any calculator or computer cant do. Thats the beauty of this game and why there are endless ways to learn no matter who or where you play. I brought it up and you nailed it there and looked at it the exact same way i was thinking in regards to that.

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Even if your opponent is not thinking like you would or if you can’t quite put him on a range, knowing the basics helps. When you know nothing about your opponent at all, this is the stuff that really helps. Just knowing when you have the range/nut advantage allows you to print EV over opponents who don’t. Being able to recognize when you are betting frequently at a small size or infrequently at a large size will always be helpful. Knowing what turns and rivers help or hurt your entire range is going to give you a huge advantage. Being able to identify when your opponent likely has a hand that can call vs a hand that can’t will give you gigantic advantages on bet sizing decisions and so on.

People complain that they can’t beat bad players because those players have no strategy. “Its all luck” is something I hear constantly. Well, this is total and complete nonsense. When I hear someone say that, I know that they don’t have these concepts figured out yet. Sure, its easier to moan and whine about all those donkeys and how they always get lucky. Its harder to put in the work needed to beat them and then own your own results. So, if people are ok with being frustrated and whiny, don’t study with these tools. If someone wants to learn how to beat up bums for fun and profit, put in a little work - its not hard but it does require a player to actively participate in their own skill development.

If someone wants to beat a 1/2 or 2/5 game for 5BB/100, you don’t need any of this. If someone wants to beat these games for 30BB/100+, they do.

ADDED: As a great example, how can someone know the best way to play their draws if they don’t know whether they have the range/nut advantage? Most people don’t so they play their draws the same way every single time. Well, this is costing them huge amounts of EV. Knowing that you should play your draws more aggressively when you have the range advantage would be helpful, right? Playing your draws too aggressively when you are at a range/nut disadvantage just has you throwing money in vs hands that have your draws crushed. The person who understands this will make money consistently. People who don’t are totally at the mercy of variance.