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StrategyPoker Basics

Ranges & Equity (3): Equity Introduction

Ahead of this lesson you should have read:

You already know what a range is and how to write it down. Now it's time to learn more about an application of this concept: Equity.

Equity is a percentage value that indicates how often your hand or range is ahead of your opponent's hand or range at showdown.

Equity is always a number between 0% and 100%. This means that you could have 0% equity and never win against your opponent's range or you could have 100% equity and always win against villain's range. The equities of all players always add up to 100%. If the board runs out in such a way that a split pot becomes a possibility, the likelihood of this case will be added evenly to all players' ranges.

Equity is a percentage that indicates how often your hand or range is ahead of your opponent's hand or range at showdown.

How to calculate your equity

In order to get your equity right, you have to do a simulation of all community cards that haven't been dealt yet and count all possible results at showdown. The percentage of how often your hand or range wins at showdown is your equity.

When we do a simulation of a pre-flop situation, we look at all possible flop, turn and river cards. In a simulation of a flop spot, you include all possible turn and river cards into your calculation.

There are more than 1.7 million possible combinations for the five community cards, which means that you can't do the simulation by hand. That's why there are special tools such as Equilab which lend you a helping hand to get the job done.

Example: You are all-in pre-flop holding aces with villain holding deuces. Here's a simulation of all possible combinations of community cards:

As you can see, you will win 82% of the time. Your equity is 82%. Therefore villain's equity is 18%.

The board changes your equity

If you are all-in pre-flop with AA against 22, there is an 82% chance that you will win the pot at showdown. Now there is a flop of Ts9c2d and villain hits a set.

This flop changes the situation and therefore your equity and you now only have 9% equity. If the turn brings one of the two remaining aces, your equity goes back up to 98%.

You can see that equity is not a constant and can change significantly with every community card being dealt onto the board. That's why you have to take every card on the board into account and re-evaluate your equity on every street.

Your equity depends on villain's hand or range

Your equity also largely depends on villain's range. Let's take a look at the following example. You are holding 66 and villain has two possible ranges:


Your absolute hand strength is a pair of sixes, but against the two sample ranges, your equity changes by a significant 35% points. Against range A, you can always get your hand all-in profitably since you win in more than 50% of the cases, but against range B you should fold pre-flop.

Your equity represents your true hand strength, not your absolute hand strength. You always have to define your hand strength in relation to your opponent's hand or range. That's why it's called relative hand strength. All your decisions at the table need to be based on your relative hand strength.

Examples for equity

In the following table there are examples of situations that are common at the table and their equity. Since calculating your equity is somewhat time consuming, getting a feeling for equity in different spots is an essential skill for a poker player to learn.

Example Equity
Pair vs lower pair AA vs 22 82%
Pair vs two overcards 66 vs AK 54%
2 overcards vs 2 undercards AK vs 76 62%
1 overcard vs 1 undercard A2o vs K3o               61%
Flush draw on the flop vs top pair 7c6c vs AsKd on AcJc2d 37%
OESD on the flop vs top pair JhTs vs AsQd on Qh9d3c 34%
2 overcards on the flop vs top pair AdKc vs 8s9c on 9d3c5s 24%

If you want to calculate your equity based on outs, you can do so using the following rule of thumb:

  • 1 out - turn to river: ~ 2% equity
  • 1 out - flop to river: ~ 4% equity

Keep in mind that these numbers aren't 100% precise and you need to use the Equilab to get exact numbers. However, this rule of thumb allows you to get a rough idea of your equity while you are in the middle of a hand.


  • Equity indicates how often your hand or range is ahead of villain's range at showdown.
  • Equity depends on how the board runs out and villain's range.
  • You should base all decisions on your relative hand strength which is the equity of your hand against villain's range.
  • Rule of thumb: 1 out gives you ~2% equity from turn to river and ~4% equity from flop to river.

Next steps

Take the quiz and test your understanding of this lesson.
Start the quiz
Discuss this lesson or ask your questions in the forum.

Comments (24)

#1 genia2q, 10 Jul 13 16:54

I still find difficulties to understand in the equity, I will keep trying to figure a way to understand it, thank you.

#2 lollo1588, 27 Jul 13 11:46


#3 rebelbhoy67, 10 Jul 14 20:18


#4 Jakkosh, 14 Jul 14 14:21

The quiz is always helpful to me, to see if i need to go over the article again.

#5 wirra, 20 Jul 14 20:51

good read, grasped the concept :D

#6 catblank, 14 Oct 14 09:01


#7 azhardelisya, 11 Dec 14 22:11


#8 gohomeman2690, 31 Oct 15 15:25


#9 bubamarasr, 20 Jan 16 18:44

Read it. Thank you.

#10 setyaida, 25 Jan 16 11:06


#11 hassux, 25 Jan 16 21:25


#12 ptpokermyth, 26 Feb 16 16:33

Just love this program

#13 sedinbsng, 01 Apr 16 20:08


#14 pharaonsgold, 07 Apr 16 00:36


#15 CroZoZo, 26 Apr 16 13:20


#16 Nhoxalone, 06 May 16 05:43


#17 TetonSouix, 16 May 16 02:31

good site..

#18 ggium, 21 May 16 09:47


#19 Tezza459, 25 May 16 15:24

I enjoy being on this site because I have been learning so much about Poker and is making me a wiser gambler

#20 armorrrat, 08 Jun 16 19:08

Good stuff, but to do it on a spot while playing takes years of practice I believe...

#21 Robinsko, 09 Aug 16 18:11


#22 CassioM, 17 Aug 17 20:30

Equity is my fault. This article helped me alot. thanks

#23 fickodejan, 26 Mar 18 09:16


#24 tuananh1601, 08 Jan 19 04:24

thank you