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Poker Hand Odds

While there is plenty of analysis and thought that goes into playing winning poker, sometimes you just need to focus on the basic mathematics of the game to improve. This is especially the case with knowing where your cards rank in comparison to an opponent’s potential hand. Keeping that in mind, here is a look at some common heads-up poker hand situations, as well as a discussion on what each hand’s chances of winning are.

AK Suited vs. Any Pocket Pair - While AK suited is often put among the premium hands in bigger games, it’s not quit as strong of a hand in heads-up play. Pocket 2’s have a slight advantage over AK suited, while pocket kings have a 65.5% chance of beating this hand.

Pocket Aces vs. Any other Pocket Pair - Pocket aces are definitely golden in heads-up situations since they are an 81% favorite over any other pocket pair.

Small Pair vs. Overcards - While your small pocket pairs usually have the advantage over a pair of overcards, you still have to be careful. After all, taking something like pocket 4’s against KQ unsuited only gives you a 52% chance of winning preflop. If the KQ combination is suited, the two hands run almost identical.

Small Pair vs. Middle Suited Connectors - While small pairs might beat AK heads-up the majority of the time, they are actually an underdog to middle suited connectors. For example, 6-7 suited will beat pocket 3’s around 51% of the time.

Gap Hand vs. Undercard Connectors - To illustrate this matchup, let’s say that you have 8T unsuited against 4-5 unsuited; in this case, you would be a 62% favorite to win. However, if the 4-5 combo is suited, your chances of winning drop to 58%.

Keep the aforementioned hand match-ups in mind next time you play heads-up against an opponent - or in any other game for that matter. As you start to define your opponents’ range, knowing how the hand match-ups play out is extremely helpful when deciding what to do.