The REM Process - Equity
After your have put your opponent on a range of hands, the second step in the REM process is to find your "equity" in the hand.
The equity part mostly acts as a stepping stone for the following "maximize" step. However, as far as stepping stones go, this is a pretty tricky one that isn't overly easy to work out accurately.
On a basic level though, it's something that we actually all do without even thinking about it.
What is equity?
Equity is our "share" of the pot that we expect to win.
It's pretty straightforward really, but if you want more of an overview of this term you should check out the basic poker equity article.
When we work out our equity in a hand for the REM process, we compare our hand to our opponent's range of hands (remember the range we worked out in the first step?). Once we know our equity in the hand against this range, we can go on to make the appropriate play.
Working out equity on a basic level.
On an absolutely most-basic level, when we work out our equity we decide whether we have one of the following:
- A hand with the most equity - A strong hand that has the a strong chance of winning.
- A hand with poor equity - A weak hand that has a poor chance of winning.
- A hand with around evens equity - This could be a very strong draw, or a hand like AK facing an all-in.
When we compare our hand to our opponent's possible range of hands, we just want to asses the situation and take an educated guess to figure out where we stand in the hand.
That's all equity really is - a percentage representation of our strength in the hand. The main thing that we need to do to help us make the best play (maximize) is to figure out how strong our hand is based on our opponent's likely range of hands.
It is possible to work out a rough numerical idea of your equity in your head, but in all fairness this is far from being an easy task, and when you have programs like PokerStove to help you out when you are playing online it really makes it an unnecessary method to try and learn.
Calculating equity with PokerStove.
PokerStove is a superb tool for accurately calculating your equity in a hand. All you have to do is input your hand against your opponent's range and let the program do the magic. No need for working stuff out in your head.
Here are a few examples of calculating your equity against ranges of hands in PokerStove.
Equity example 1.
We raise to 5BBs preflop with A K and tight player shoves all in with their short stack size of 30BBs. We are confident that they will only be doing with with a pocket pair like JJ+ and AK.
Equity example 2.
We have K Q on a flop of T J 5. We bet and our opponent shoves all-in. We believe that they would only be doing this with TPTK, top two-pair or a set. Basically any hand like the strongest top pair or better.
Equity example 3.
We are dealt A J before the flop. One player pushes all-in and it is folded around to us. The guy at the table is moving all-in with every single hand he plays, so he could have absolutely anything.
Are you supposed to use PokerStove to work out equity in every hand?
Of course not - that would take ages and be really annoying. I use PokerStove to work out equity against hand ranges in two instances:
- For post-session analysis.
- In the middle of a big hand when I'm using the time bank.
So unless you are using PokerStove as more of a one-off in the middle of a big hand, I would use the program off the tables when I'm analyzing my play and just generally playing around with different scenarios.
The more you play with it, the more you will familiarise yourself with the equity of specific hands against various ranges. This will greatly improve your basic equity calculations on the fly and help to set you up for the following "maximize" step.
Evaluation of "equity" in the REM process.
With the use of PokerStove, this step is really quick and easy. However without using PokerStove, figuring out your equity in a hand can involve a lot of guesswork. This is why familiarizing yourself with the various equity percentages in different situations can prove to be helpful when estimating equity on the spot.
The majority of the time, simply assessing the situation and using common sense is enough to lead you safely on to the "maximize" step. After all, you don't need me (or PokerStove) to tell you that you have bad equity in the hand when you hold 2 2 on a flop of A Q J.
When it comes to bigger decisions, then it might be a good idea to plug some cards in to the calculator to find a more accurate equity percentage. Other than that just use common sense, supplement that with some time playing around with PokerStove and you should be fine.
Next stop, The REM Process - Maximize.
Go back to the awesome Texas Hold'em Strategy.