The Internet Hand

In the last couple of live games I’ve participated in, the “computer” or “internet” hand of Q7o has been mentioned. The pokerterms.com definition discounts the idea that the conventional explanation that a simulation showed it was the hand with the smallest positive win rate in heads-up play of the 169 hand combinations. In their section “Real Statistics,” they claim that Poker Stove shows Q2s and Q5o between Q7o and the 50% mark and that J5s is just under the mark.

I hate to differ with the venerable Poker Stove but I have my own sets of statistics, run for between two to twelve players. Each set is based on 500,000 hands of No-Limit Hold’Em. And the conventional explanation is right. Q7o will be the best hand 50.56% of the time in a two-player game. I don’t know what pokerterms.com was feeding their copy of Poker Stove but Q2s only wins 47.74% heads-up and Q5o is 48.51%. J5s is 47.35%, also on the down side.

Of course, that’s not the entire story. Poker isn’t just a binary win/lose proposition. There’s always the possibility of a tie, and some hands have relatively high possibilities of doing so. While a hand like AA will only tie 0.42% of its appearances, J5s will tie 5.13% of the times it shows up.

One way to evaluate a hand’s strength isn’t how often it wins but how often it doesn’t lose. If I don’t lose any chips, if I can split whatever other money might be in the pot, that’s acceptable. On that basis, Q7o looks marginally better. I wouldn’t normally play it, but in a brute-force statistical race, it only loses 46.02% of the time. It’s in the top 40% of possible hands, ranked on how often they lose. If you look at the range between a hand that loses 50% of the time heads-up (J6o loses 50.05%) and the best possible hand pre-flop (AA loses 14.02%), Q7o rates 11% better than statistical average. Q2s is at 5%, Q5o is 6%, and J5s is 7%.

Lots of ways to slice and dice statistics. Just a matter of making them useful.

Put a Spade In It

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Trying to get back on the track. Aces in the first three hands and I win only the very first (AK) and that’s just 30 chips. Another ace with a lower kicker pairs. I have to back off 66 when triple paint shows on the flop, and AQ loses out to a pair of sevens.

Full Tilt Step 1 Super Turbo (300 chips)

I will never enter another Super Turbo so long as I live. You might as well just roll dice.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Lost 600 on the first hand when an ace showed up late, doubled up from 395 only because a guy with 3K stayed in for absolutely nothing against my AJ all-in, then lost the whole thing with KK when 8A paired up.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Entered into the tournament twice and neither went anywhere. Got knocked out the final time by a Mutant Jack that paired over my eights.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Played pretty conservatively for twenty minutes until I got A5 at 60/120 when we were down to six players. I raised to 240 from the cutoff and got a call from the big blind. The flop was 348 and I bet another 240 after a check. He raised all-in and I called for everything I had. His 78 gave him a pair and the K K after the flop didn’t improve me any.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Another conservative game until the last hand. I got QQ and raised from the big blind of 30 to 210 in the hijack seat. The button re-raised all-in for 1,410 and UTG+2 went all-in to 2,385. Either one put me in and with QQ I took the plunge for 1,493. I saw KK and KK. Neither would improve but they didn’t need to. A pair of nines and a pair of aces on the board with an errant 6 and it was over.

Cake $1,000 Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Reasonably good going for fifteen minutes until I was dealt JQ in the small blind at 25/50. UTG+1 raised to 100, UTG+3 called, and both the blinds went along for the ride. I got top pair with TQ5 and bet 150. UTG+1 called but UTG+3 raised to 1,000. I wasn’t about to let him get away with that. But I should have. I called and the 9 on the turn gave me an up-or-down straight draw. I put in my last 280 and he went all-in to call, 40 short of my stack. The 3 didn’t connect with anything and when the cards turned over he had a a pair of queens, too, but with K instead of an ace for the kicker. I managed to quad up on my next hand but somehow that’s not so satisfying when you’re doing it with only 40 chips.

Aces Players Club (5,000 chips)

I’d managed to almost recover from some early losses with a 67 that turned into an 8-high straight on the flop. On another hand I double-pair A3 and push all-in to drive off an A5 that only connects on the top. Then I got JJ and raised to 250 with the blinds at 50/100. Several players came along and the flop was somewhat disturbing, with a Q. Everyone checked through that and the K on the turn. J on the river gave me trips but at the far end of the table a player bet 1,000. I came over the top for 2,500 and everyone but him dropped out and he called. It wasn’t until he turned over his 57 that I realized there was another spade on the flop. A little while later I had A9 and bet hard but the big stack two places to my left got three spades (including 9) on the flop to flush out his K5, which I saw after I tried to bluff him off. I had a small chance with runner-runner 9s or aces or any combination thereof to make a full house, but it didn’t happen and I was out in less than an hour.

That’s nine losses in a row. I think the streak is off.