Monday, November 19, 2012


Steve Zolotow presents an interesting little quiz in his column for Card Player magazine (November 14, 2012, issue; vol. 25, #23, page 50). He asks the reader to estimate what percentage of the time 10s-9s will win against the following hands, assuming all-in before the flop:

1. Ac-Ad
2. Ac-Kc
3. Ac-5c
4. 5c-5d
5. 7c-6c
6. 9c-8c
7. Top 20 percent range
8. Top 40 percent range
9. Top 60 percent range
10. All hands--100 percent range

If this piques your curiosity as it did mine, take a couple of minutes to jot down your answers, before scrolling down.

Here are the answers Zolotow gives, as percentages, followed in parentheses by the estimates I had written down:

1. 22.8 (20)
2. 38.7 (40)
3. 45.9 (45)
4. 52.4 (50)
5. 62.8 (65)
6. 69.3 (75)
7. 35.4 (30)
8. 41.6 (35)
9. 46.5 (40)
10. 54.0 (45)

Clearly I did a lot better putting in estimates against specific starting hands than I did against ranges. I have a bazillion times more experience with the former than with the latter. For the former, my guesses were all good enough that they would produce the right answer in a go/no-go situation at the table nearly every time. For the latter, though I wasn't outrageously off, I still missed by enough to cause an erroneous decision in some significant spots.

And, frankly, estimating hand strength against an opponent's range is a more important skill than estimating it against a specific hand. It's something I ought to work on.

How about you?


Fred said...

1. 22.8 (18)
2. 38.7 (45)
3. 45.9 (42)
4. 52.4 (50)
5. 62.8 (56)
6. 69.3 (68)
7. 35.4 (25)
8. 41.6 (35)
9. 46.5 (45)
10. 54.0 (52)

I'm pretty satisfied with my estimates, after seeing the results I realize that I was thinking more along the lines of top %10(for #7) instead of top %20 so that's the only one I'd like to have back.
I remember a loooong time ago either reading about(probably Phil Gordon) or discussing/analyzing with a friend the "hidden strength" and math of 10-9suited.

Vookenmeister said...

fun quiz. this quiz example is very helpful for short stacked tournament play. on the surface T9 looks pretty weak for an all in.

However, it shows how valuable hands like T9 sooted can be in terms of how they line up against the big hands that might call your shove.

in other words, it's a great hand to open shove with or 3bet bluff shove with because you get your normal fold equity and the times when you get called the suited connectors give you some extra shots at hitting a straight or a flush AND you usually will not be facing a dominating hand like KT or K9. so often you also will have two live cards.

suited connectors are interesting. they have value when you are deep and when you are short but shouldn't really be played in between for normal raises or calls, etc.

in fact, it is also a good hand to 3bet bluff with when deep. If you are called it allows you to play your hand like two big cards or a big pair (for flops you miss) while disguising your strength on flops that crush your draws. It's a great deceptive hand to play for a 3bet to balance your range.

sevencard2003 said...

1. 25%

overall i was off by 24 total (for all 10) better than Fred who was off by 42 total, and grump, who was off by 41. as horrible as things are going its nice to know i have better reasoning skills and math skills and poker skills than at least 2 other players.

Anonymous said...

Tony should realize that deducing anything about his skills relative to Grump's based on one quiz actually indicts his reasoning skills.

Comparing the life situations of two people pursuing the same career path over an extended period of time just might provide a more reliable basis for comparison of their skills.

Anonymous said...

Mine / actual

1. 22 - 22.8 (wow!)
2. 35 - 38.7
3. 44 - 45.9
4. 35 - 52.4 (way off)
5. 65 - 62.8
6. 65 - 69.3
7. 15 - 35.4 (ouch!)
8. 20 - 41.6
9. 25 - 46.5
10. 30 - 54.0

Like you, Grump, my estimates against ranges were not good (much worse in my case). Good point that those skills need to be beefed up.

Fun quiz.