What percentage of pots should you win if you are playing the game right?

I want to know so I can evaluate whether I an playing too many hands that do not have the potential to win.



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I’m a medium MTT player. I fold 79% and hands won is 12%.

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just keep reducing the number of hands you play until you win about 90 percent of the hands you play…unless you would be satisfied with only winning 70 or 80 percent…

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I fold 86% of my hands…and my hands won is 8%…winning 94% at showdown.

…and that’s a great video Scatch posted.


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It is a video I use also.


There is absolutely no way to give you a proper answer without a whole lot more data. Even with all the data, there is still no absolutely correct answer.

Are you playing cash games or tournaments? Omaha or Hold 'em? 9-seat tables or 6 or 4 or heads-up? Are you playing with herds of donkeys playing family pots or games with some pre-flop action? What is your playing style? Are you willing to bluff at pots to win them or just play them out to see if you made the best hand in the end?

That being said, my guess is that you feel you are playing too many hands or you wouldn’t have asked the question. Look at some basic charts of starting hands by position and master that. It wont take long. Then start deviating off those charts as your skill improves and as your reads of the tables you are seated at gets better. Tighten up farther than suggested on uber-loose tables and loosen up on tighter tables. Mostly, get the ABC poker down and you are ahead of the vast majority of players.


One thing which always hard for me is to play bad hands.
I would cringe if I had to flip over 92os after limping under the gun with it.

It doesn’t matter if I am playing for free or at Bellagio…my play is mostly the same.
Great hands, reading the flop -position, my stack.
…and odds.

I know I should play with the flow of a table, and tend to play the tiny, little tourneys here.
I just wait and place.
(most all the time)

People get bored folding all the time and go all feral at tables.
…and yet, my game remains the same.

The thing about Poker is that everybody tends to think they rock at it.
Get lucky a few times with sloppy aces and play them until the cows come home.

Play good hands, and let the percentages speak for themselves, is my best advice.

Best of luck out there.

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Did a little digging and this article (and series) is a great read. Whether a beginner or a seasoned player, these basic rules and recommendations never go out of style.

As an aside, though the article is about “how not to suck”, don’t let that dissuade you from reading it. While I am not a great player by any stretch of the imagination, I am not a novice either. Still, I will frequently read up on the basics and “beginners” columns I come across. You can never ever be too familiar with the ABC’s of poker, especially in a play-chip or micro-stake environment. Even if you are the very best player here, reading the basics will remind you of how others may be seeing the game.


My stats… hands folded 64%… hands won 22%. I play ring games.

According to Annie Duke,you should be playing 33 per cent of your hands, or a bit less. The logic is that nobody gets more than that in value starting cards. Of course there are exceptions, but try it"
,you’ll like it".

These stats are relatively meaningless because it depends on what type of game you are playing (ring, MTT, SnG, 6-max, full ring, heads up), but my stats are 73% of hands folded, 14% of pots won, 46% won at showdown.

By sheer luck, you should win 11% at full ring and 17% at 6-max, so I am right in the middle, which makes sense because I have played every game type on Replay.

Knowing what % of total hands to play depends on skill level (novices should player a lower %), stack depth (certain hands rely more on implied odds or are subject to more reverse implied odds), and the number of players at the table.

As far as pots won at showdown/without showdown, that statistic is also situation dependent, but it can help show whether or not you are going for too much value and getting your opponents to fold (or bluffing a lot) versus not going for enough value and showing down too much without making your opponents pay the price.

As an aside, I think it’s really interesting that my winning % matches pure luck (or even worse when you consider how much I played heads-up, where I should be winning 50% of hands), but I am still a winning player. I think that it goes to show how much of poker win-rate is not about winning more pots, but rather about winning more chips when you do win and losing fewer when you lose.

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With all due respect Joe, I don’t know it you’re looking at this right.

Yes, at a full 9 seat table, you will have the best hand 11% of the time, but ONLY if you play any 2 cards from any position, and take it to showdown every time no matter what.

How many times do you fold that 48o when you would have made a straight by the river, or folded 72 when a pair of 7s would have been the winner? is there a direct correlation between the statistical likelihood of 2 random cards making the best hand by showdown and your actual winning percentage?

I don’t know. They might be related in some way, but it’s not that simple a question.


Here’s a different way to look at it…

You fold 73%, so you don’t fold 27%. That 14% win rate isn’t 14 hands per hundred, it’s 14 hands won per 27 pots entered, or an actual win rate of about 52%.

How many pots entered were limps around to you in the BB? They don’t count as hands folded, but should they count as pots entered? How many times do you bet preflop and fold the field? These don’t count towards flops seen, but they are pots entered… or are they?

The stats given are of marginal value, at best.


I agree completely that the stats provided are not very helpful in terms of understanding play, and yes, when I said sheer luck I meant that would be the percentage over a giant sample if every player played every random hand down to showdown. I do think % of hands folded could be useful if someone only played the exact same game type every time. And % of pots won at showdown can be helpful when used correctly to understand your own play over time, not to make any general statements.

Actually, your point about win rate actually brings up another issue with the statistics. It says I have seen 66,000 flops, but subtracting hands folded from total hands only equals 47,000. So then I thought hands folded includes hands where you are in the blinds but do not voluntarily put additional chips into the pot, except that I have only seen 26,000 flops out of the big blind, so it doesn’t add up. What I am sure of is that I do not win 50+% of hands when I see the flop. I guess it is possible that I win that many when I voluntarily put chips into the pot, but even that number seems high. I am guilty of limping with plenty of medium strength hands. Although, I guess that playing a lot of heads up at the end of tournaments could inflate that number upward, so yeah… the stats are super confusing.

As for % of pots won, I do not think the statistic has any utility, but I do think the potential meaning of that number is an interesting statistical question. In my opinion it is not simply trivial because players don’t play every hand, but I believe that the percentage of hands won should gravitate towards those “sheer luck” values over a large enough sample size based on the assumption that most players play a similar style.

While some players play loose and some play tight, if we assume that players have a general sense of what a good hand is, the probability of a random player having a certain number of “good” hands is equal to the same probability for another random player. There are likely to be individual differences in whether or not a certain player say, will call the river with a pair of 8s and an Ace kicker, while another player might fold, but these differences are likely to balance out in other ways across the entire population (not necessarily in any individual case). If we accept the accuracy of that distribution across all players, an individual player might be able to make a useful inference based on their own percentage given that the percentage is drawn from only games played with that number of players at the table. Of course, since in both tournaments and ring, there are varying numbers of players at the table due to circumstances, that number is still pretty meaningless, as is this whole comment lol…

I want to thank you all for the great response to my question. If it helps, my statistics are as follows; I have played 36,985 hands, folded 79%, won 11%, and 64% at showdown. Your comments are welcome. Jackp

Maybe not, but that 52% should also include times you raise preflop and everyone folds because these should count as a pot won and not a hand folded. I don’t limp that often in tournaments, so for me, this is a fairly significant part of my total hands won.

I agree that the stats provided are a little confusing, don’t seem to add up, and could stand a bit of help. Maybe someone will start a thread on suggested improvements.

I think the staff are well aware and working on improvments (at least they have said so on this forum). There used to be a few more stats that were even more confusing or inaccurate.

I guess I hadn’t been thinking about hands where I raise and take it or hands where I’m big blind and it folds around to me. That could explain the discrepancy. What would that calculation be for you, if you don’t mind sharing? Winning that many of the hands I’m involved in sounds good, but there are so many factors involved in figuring out what that number means.

I’m showing 79% folded and 12% wins, so 12 of 21 or about 57%.

I’m also showing 56% at showdown, which seems about right because I try to get max value for my winners. Of the 44% I win without showdown, I would guess about 1/4 are won without seeing a flop.

Keep in mind that medium buyin MTTs are more or less all I play here.