You have an ace, but do your opponents?

April 03, 2011, Chris  

By Tom Gallagher

Quick, with four other players at the table, what’s the percentage someone doesn’t have an ace if you have one in your hand? If you come across poker statistics like this you probably wouldn’t take the time to attempt to memorize this data and if you did you would find it difficult to do.

As a poker coach/instructor it’s my job to take this type of statistical information and see if I can make slight adjustments to come up with a memorable format so my students can memorize the data within three minutes.

I removed some decimal points and found a very interesting pattern I could memorize in three minutes, so I included it in my training. Take three minutes and memorize the list; it’s worth your time and you will find it important the next time you’re at a final (or short-handed) table.

Here’s how you memorize this list.

Memorize two players first (87 percent), and then memorize 10 players (25 percent).
OK, now start at 87 percent and move down list: 87, 77, 67, 57, 50, STOP! Go down the list one more time, then without looking at the list, recall the numbers: 87-77-67-57-50!
Now start at 50 percent and go down list: 50, 45, 35 . . . we know the last is 25. . . but after 35 is 30. Now go down list from 50: 45, 35 30, 25.

Within three minutes you should have memorized the list: from 2-10 players: 87-77-67-57 50-45-35-30-25.

Now, at a table with four players you look down at your first card and it’s an ace. You go down the list three levels to 67. You can round off to 70 percent. There is a 70 percent chance none of the other three players has an ace. You’re in the lead and should play your strong ace as such. Note: It’s 16-to-1 opponent(s) do not have a pair.

— Tom Gallagher is a poker coach/instructor in Southern California with 15 years’ experience and more than 6,000 students to his credit. He teaches seminars monthly at Oceans 11 Casino or conducts live online training. Go to thepokerfactory.com for more information.

Have an ace? Here’s how likely your opponents don’t:
2 opponents is 87 percent
3 opponents is 77 percent
4 opponents is 67 percent
5 opponents is 57 percent
6 opponents is 50 percent
7 opponents is 45 percent
8 opponents is 35 percent
9 opponents is 30 percent
10 opponents is 25 percent

Take three minutes and memorize the list; it’s worth your time and you will find it important the next time you’re at a final (or short-handed) table.