Playing Texas hold’em at your Sunday afternoon home game, from center position, you are dealt Kd-Jc and limping to see the flop with some of the other players. Failure drops on the board, showing Ks-9d-3d. That gives you the top pair on the board – Aha! moment for you.
A few hands later, you see the Ac-9d in the hole. Calling from the center to see the flop along with the other four, the dealer places Ah-8h-3 on the board. Top pair! This is another Aha! moment for you. This type of situation is quite common. You have the top pair on the board with two more cards, a turn and a river, to come. Your morale is high; and, of course, you keep your poker face and be careful not to notify visit the KaptenCasino.
Intuitively, you know that you are almost certainly ahead of each of your opponents. The trick is to stay in the lead and win the pot in the fight. The chances are low, your hand will get better. The second best is not the way to come home victorious!
Let us examine the latter as an example. You estimate, on average, that you are probably the 80 percent favorite over each of the others called upon to see failure with you. Given your high school class (probably in college) about probability and statistics, you realize the probability (likelihood) of winning the pot is determined by multiplying the probability for each of your opponents who stay to see a turn: 80% x 80% x 80% x 80 % = 41%. Less than 50% are underdogs.
Thus, holding a pair of aces on the flop, if four or more opponents remain to see turn with you, makes you the underdog, and most of the time your hand will be beaten by one of the other players. (With a pair of Kings, it would be fewer opponents.) That’s not the way to go home victorious.
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