What does it mean if the odds are -140 that your next poker game will end in a loss?
Or perhaps more importantly: What does it mean if the opposite is true?
Before answering that question, let’s discuss some poker terminology.
To begin with, let’s define a few terms that will be used throughout this article. When playing poker, there are a lot of variables that one has to consider to ensure victory. However, there are some terms that are essential in understanding why your cards don’t value as highly as you think they should.
Firstly, there are the concepts of “odds” and “benefits”. The former are the probabilities of an event occurring. For example, the odds of drawing a queen in the next card are 1 in 13. The benefits of drawing a queen are that you get to replace one of your cards with a much stronger one, or at least that’s what you might think. The truth is that the king gives you no benefits at all in this case. It is purely a matter of chance that you drew a queen.
The concept of “expected value” is related to odds and benefits. When you put all the odds together and multiply them by the benefits, you get your expected value. For example, given the probabilities of drawing a Queen and King as well as the benefits of each, the expected value of drawing a Queen is 13 X 2, or 26. The expected value of drawing a King is 0, since there are no benefits to be gained from drawing one.
Let’s return to our topic at hand: what does it mean if the odds are -140 that your next poker game will end in a loss? It means that the probability of you losing is 140%. Alternatively, it could mean that the probability of you winning is only 6.25%. That would be extremely profitable! To put it into perspective: That’s a 22.5% chance of winning for each $100 you spend on poker chips. Not bad, huh?
With the above definitions out of the way, let’s examine some basic math that will help you understand the significance of -140 odds. First, remember that the casino’s cut of your losses is determined by a number called the “rake”, which is normally about 10%. This means that whenever you lose, the casino will take 10% of your money. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 10 cents or a dollar, the point is that they’re taking something from you. Next, consider the fact that there are two ways to lose at poker: either by drawing a “bad” card or because the cards aren’t working out as you’d expect. To figure out how bad your cards are, simply subtract your total net worth (assets – liabilities) from 1. For example, if you have $1,000,000 in total net worth then your cards are probably about as bad as it gets. If your cards are anywhere close to that number, then you’re probably going to lose a lot of money at poker. Now let’s assume that you’re fortunate enough that your cards are not that bad after all. Let’s say that your total net worth is still only half a million dollars. In that case, you have about a 50/50 chance of winning or losing your next hand of poker. Keep those favorable odds in mind.
Hopefully, you put a lot of thought into which cards to play and when, and managed to avoid the “hand of cards” that a lot of people get caught by. When that happens, it usually means that someone cheated or was just extremely lucky. Or a combination of both. In any event, you played honest and according to your skills, which is all that matters.
Thanks for reading! We hope that this article has helped you understand how important it is to consider the odds when playing poker. As already stated, they can be extremely deceptive. By simply looking at your cards, you might think that you have a good chance of winning when in reality you could be losing big. Always keep that in mind.