Know the Probability of the Best Poker Hands

by , Sep 20, 2015 | 9:20 pm

Poker may take some number crunching, nerves of steel and a blank face but when it all comes down to it, poker is still a game of chance. That means that savvy players can figure out the probability of losing a hand, depending on what they’re holding. In a game like 5-card poker, if you are playing in online poker tournaments these are the probabilities of you landing a winning hand:

You aren’t storming the gates with two of a kind, but it’s better than nothing. And having two Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces will pack more than a little punch even though the probability of pulling a pair is 0.422569 – regardless of card value.

Two Pair
Everybody loves twins. Well maybe not poker players. Two pairs are pretty good, but not great and can sometimes lure you into a big pot, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you. Probability of two pair, a sharp drop from a single pair to 0.047539.

Also known as “Three of a Kind”, this hand can get the job done if you’re playing at a smaller table. There are six hands that are going to beat the triple, so do a head check and bet accordingly. The probability of pulling out three of a kind drops significantly from two pair, to 0.021128.

High or low, the straight is a solid poker hand. But, much like the triple, you’ve got to size up your field and know the chances of an opponent pulling a better hand. The consecutive five-card sequence holds a probability of 0.00392465.

Getting five cards suited – but not in sequential order – holds a probability of 0.0019654, since there are just 13 cards of the same suit in a single 52-card deck. It’s a slightly behind the full house in terms of probability and rank, but stands well ahead of its cousin the straight.

Full House
Not just a great 80’s TV sitcom but also a tremendous poker hand. You’ve got three of a kind and managed to pull two pair along with it. Holding a probability of 0.001441, your opponents will need to pull out a miracle to beat the full house most hands.

Four of a kind
The mighty quintuplets are a Top-5 poker hand and if a miracle is needed to beat a full house, than you might need the Pope in your corner to top four of a kind, which holds a slim probability of 0.000240. If you’re not going all in with four on the floor, you’ve wasted a gift from the poker gods.

Straight Flush
You could play poker for years and years and never see this hand come up. It’s the unicorn of 5-card poker, with not only five cards suited but also those cards run in sequential order. The probability of a straight flush – excluding the Royal Flush – is 0.0000138517.

Royal Flush
This is the great white whale of poker hands. The odds of a common golfer scoring a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1. The odds of pulling a Royal Flush are 649,739 to 1 or a probability of 0.00000153908. Luckily, for you the odds of getting hitting by lightning are only slightly longer at 960,000 to 1.

Big Business for Online Casinos

In a world of regulated Internet gaming, complex deals can be par for the course

by , Aug 18, 2015 | 3:26 pm

The online poker and gambling world is changing. Business-wise, internet casino giants are shuffling the deck to position themselves for a shifting battle to dominate in the 21st century, while new players seek a foothold in the action.

One group determined to play for the top spot are 888, who have been offering sophisticated online gambling since the early days of the internet. The publicly traded parent financier 888 Holdings (888.L) have been making moves to stay in a powerful position. But buying and selling assets can be complicated in the world of international high finance and multijurisdictional regulatory oversight. In July, 888 thought they had won a bidding war to acquire longtime rival poker and casino powerhouse Bwin.Party (BPTY.L) for £900 million (US$1.4 billion). But not so fast! The rival suitor, whom 888 thought they had outbid, came back with a slightly higher offer and less corporate baggage.

Apparently, GVC Holdings (GVC.L) was hoping the third time would be a charm in their quest to land Bwin.Party assets, which include not just the poker site, but also bingo, casino, and sports betting operations. GVC made a bid in May, only to have 888 follow that with a bid of its own. GVC responded by declaring its intent to partner with Canada-based Amaya (AYA.TO), which had recently acquired poker behemoth PokerStars for US$5 billion. In June, Amaya had upped its stature by securing listing on NASDAQ stock exchange, too. And sure enough, in July, the new online gaming allies submitted a new bid to take over Bwin.Party.

(Their plan was to split the company, with poker going to Amaya, and the casino and sports-betting operation going to GVC.)


Advantages to Playing Poker Online

by , Jul 8, 2015 | 11:03 am

Playing poker with your friends or at the poker rooms is fun but so is playing online. Online poker also offers numerous advantages to traditional poker. Besides being able to play any time or day, you also get free cash and more ways to play. Let’s go over all the ways playing poker online is advantageous to regular poker.

The first way online poker is better than regular poker played at a friend’s house or in a poker room is that you can play at anytime and anywhere. Being able to play poker on your computer, phone or tablet means you can play any time during the deal. Online there are players at the tables 24/7 because they have the same freedom you have. If you like playing in the morning before work or during the day at lunch, you can. Some people like playing after work or late at night. It also doesn’t matter what day you like to play. It doesn’t have to be Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it can be any day of the week and even the biggest holidays. You don’t even have to be at your computer. Most poker sites offer a mobile option that allows you to play on your phone or tablet anywhere.

The second way playing poker online is better is the free cash the poker sites give you to try out their poker rooms or reward you for making a bonus. Some poker sites give you some free cash to try out playing poker in their rooms. The most common type of bonus is the deposit bonus. You make a deposit and they’ll give you free cash so you start playing with what you’ve put in and what they give you for free. This is usually a big multiple of your deposit. So if you want the most free cash, make a bigger initial deposit.

These are just some of the advantages to playing online. Play poker online now and see for yourself what they all are. You’ll have even more fun playing online with everything the poker sites have to offer.

Canadian Senate Reports on Digital Currencies

by , Jun 18, 2015 | 2:18 pm

Lately, when many Canadians think of the Senate — our unelected upper house of Parliament — they think of the Senate expense scandal (or possibly other scandals) which may be an issue in the general election this fall. That’s unfortunate, as today the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce released its report on Digital Currency.

The Committee offers a number of welcome, measured, and moderate proposals.

The very first recommendation exhorts the Canadian government to “create an environment that fosters innovation for digital currencies and their associated technologies” and “exercise a regulatory ‘light touch.'” That’s certainly welcome given the innovation that’s taking place in the space in Canada and the cryptocurrency businesses that are being started and acquired here.


Tell Science

Setting a baseline for bluffability

by , Jan 23, 2015 | 1:27 pm


Can you spot the liar?

The New York Times asked that question — recognizing right out the gate this is supposed to be a poker skill — and presented an interactive exercise featuring video clips of people answering seemingly innocuous questions, to see, essentially, if you can spot a simple bluff.

(Apparently the body-language-reading techniques being taught at the TSA aren’t quite preparing their security agents for the WSOP.)

Booyah, I got 9/10 … so don’t even think about it. Phil Hellmuth can read souls, pshaw!

The one I missed was where the girl talks about boys playing a game in the library where they tried to scream the word “penis” as loud as they could. And I suppose my answer was biased as I had actually won that game several times in 9th grade.

888 “Gift Showers” Promise Special Prizes for All

A million bucks worth of coolness in play

by , Dec 29, 2014 | 5:30 pm

The holiday season isn’t over — at least not for players at 888poker. This venerable online poker site has a promotion that has been running all December — gift showers — and they’re still going for another six weeks.

A cool $1 million worth of special prizes is raining down on players. And we’re not just talking just leftover swag. Prizes being given away every day include new iPhone 6+’s, Go Pro cameras, Sony noise-canceling headphones, PlayStation 4s, and more!

All-In Gift Shower Tournaments are currently running twice a day, every day at 888poker. These are “all in” tournaments, so that means every player is automatically all-in on every hand until there is a winner. And there’s no such thing as unlucky here, because every player gets a prize. In addition to the awesome giveaways mentioned above, other prizes include hoodies, hats, and tickets into other tournaments — including the $5k Lucky Star Freeroll and $500 Starburst freeroll.

Find more details and official information here.


Ivey’s divided loyalty + other news

by , Dec 2, 2014 | 1:50 pm


Image by World Poker Tour 

Phil Ivey is not noted for his public endorsements. In fact he’s not noted for doing much in the way of publicity, period. So when the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner took to Twitter recently to offer his endorsement to an online gaming site it inevitably turned heads.

Ivey took time out this November to tell his Twitter followers to “check out” the newly launched But what makes the development all the more interesting is the back story – or back stories – that play into this seemingly low key moment in the public spotlight.

First of all, Ivey’s ongoing legal issues are, inevitably casting their shadow over events. Ivey – along with his colleague Cheng Yin Sun is still in the process of trying to establish the legality of winnings derived from edge counting. Specifically, he is in dispute with the Borgata Casino who claim – in effect – that Ivey was cheating when he took them for $9.6 million playing Baccarat last year. That move follows on from a case in London, England where Crockford’s Casino refused to pay him winnings totalling $11.8 million on the same basis.

What makes these issues relevant is that that Borgata are the bricks and mortar guarantors for PalaCasino. In order to meet the requirements for its iGaming licence Pala recently formalised a partnership with the Borgata Casino and Hotel. New Jersey regulations require that iGaming operators affiliate with an Atlantic City-based brick and mortar casino.


California Dreamin’

Vegas Grinders say what?

by , Nov 25, 2014 | 8:30 am

So poker people are buzzing again about the promise of California for online poker. It’s true what RJ gaming reporter Howard Stutz says, that this market represents something of a holy grail for the liquidity dependent. But that’s also the reason I’ll stick by my assertions that California needs about half a country to go pro-poker before they get real about making a deal. Sorry for the buzzkill … but here’s a little Vegas Grinders outtake, recorded about three months ago, in which Andrew, Dave and I address whether or not online pokerers should be packing up their bags and setting up shop in the Golden State.

WSOP winner Naoya Kihara celebrates Japanese ‘patience’

by , | 3:15 am


Image by  World Poker Tour 

Poker is a minority sport in Japan at the moment, but it is growing fast. According to Naoya Kihara – the first Japanese grinder to claim a WSOP winner’s ring – it is a game perfectly suited to the Japanese mentality.

Kihara won his title in 2012 in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Six-Handed event, and ever since he has been blazing a trail for poker in his homeland. In a country where the game is little played and even less understood Kihara’s $512,029 WSOP win earned him instant celebrity status, and he has not been slow to use that as a platform to promote the game.

The former Tokyo University physics student’s route to professional poker was unconventional, but it is one that he sees as a perfect model for his fellow countrymen. Having started out playing recreational games of backgammon, shogi and mahjong Kihara began earning a living from pro backgammon around 2005. From there, has admitted that once he was introduced to poker the move was a relatively straightforward one.

Online intensitity

But in the absence of real-life poker rooms in his homeland it was online poker at sites such as 32Red and Party Poker that provided Kihara with his competitive education. He has pointed out that the intrinsic pace of the online game combined with the ability to play multiple games simultaneously provides a fast-track education. Playing nine tables at a time, as he does, Kihara argues that it is possible to play up to 27 times as much poker online than in a physical poker room over an equivalent timespan. And as he says, playing his how you learn.

It’s an intense way to get to grips with the game but Kihara’s journey from novice to WSOP winner in the space of just five years shows what can be achieved. He is still an active online player under the user ID ‘nkeyno’.


Apache Gold Casino is giving players up to $300 a day in free play.

by , Nov 20, 2014 | 3:11 am

A little casino east of Phoenix, Arizona called Apache Gold is running a fantastic casino promotion until the end of this month. They are doubling or tripling any other casino’s offer up to $300. For example: If you have a valid casino offer for $50, they will give you $150 in free play, no strings attached.  They have full pay 3:2 video blackjack and full pay video poker (.25-$5 8/5 Bonus Poker) and plenty of slots so it’s well worth the drive. You can stay overnight nearby or in Phoenix and double dip too as its available once a day! Read the full details here.

While you are nearby, make sure to check out the fantastic poker action near Phoenix at both Wild Horse Pass and Talking Stick Resort.

Good luck!

Send me your tips on twitter to: @RobertGoldfarb


Aussie Dales Pushing On With Big Adelaide Prize

by , | 12:22 am

Australian poker player Andrew Dales has been on a hot streak of late, and that has culminated with a recent big money win at the Adelaide Champs 2014 Main Event. Dales scooped a solid $38,000 prize a couple of days ago at Adelaide Casino, and that is a welcome addition to anybody’s prize fund.

It was the second highest pot that Dales has won in his career to date. On February 21st 2013, he picked up a cool $64,000 at the No Limit Hold’em Main Event in Melbourne as runner up to Amjed Slewa. Slewa took $100,000 for his first place at Crown Casino.

More recently there was a $23,000 windfall in the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific No Limit Hold’em Terminator and, when combined together, they give Dales the best form of his career. His third spot behind Scot Calcagno and Nelson Maccini was very satisfying after some back and forth play. Dales came close on hand 97, going all in and the flop falling in his favour. The river card sent Dales packing though, and that would end his tournament, albeit with a steady third to his credit.


Poker Justice: 7 years for killing a cheater

by , Nov 19, 2014 | 12:32 am

We should probably be sadder because someone died and poker had everything to do with it. But at the same time … man hosts poker game, catches brother cheating, shoots brother in the chest and kills him, gets seven years. Seven-ish to be more exact. Seems about right, and arguably a +EV move — though future family Thanksgivings could be tough.

Read more here:

How to Begin to Win in Online Poker

by , Nov 14, 2014 | 3:46 pm


Image by lawrencechua

Poker is one of the most lucrative professional games in the world. In 2012, the World Series of Poker offered a mouth-watering 1st prize of over $12 million dollars. Whilst poker’s online counterpart has not yet managed to match such mind-numbingly high payouts, thousands of internet players are still raking in the cash in extraordinary amounts. The gambling industry is globally worth around $800 billion dollars with online platforms generating an increasing percentage of these profits. Between 2001 and 2005, online poker’s revenue sky-rocketed from nearly $83 million to over $2.4 billion. Therefore, it is unsurprising that big brands such as and Pokerstars pay out over $3 million dollars in prize-money every month.

Poker is one of the most lucrative professional games in the world. In 2012, the World Series of Poker offered a mouth-watering 1st prize of over $12 million dollars. Whilst poker’s online counterpart has not yet managed to match such mind-numbingly high payouts, thousands of internet players are still raking in the cash in extraordinary amounts. The gambling industry is globally worth around $800 billion dollars with online platforms generating an increasing percentage of these profits. Between 2001 and 2005, online poker’s revenue sky-rocketed from nearly $83 million to over $2.4 billion. Therefore, it is unsurprising that big brands such as 32Red and Pokerstars pay out over $3 million dollars in prize-money every month.


2014 WSOP: Year of the Young Adult?

by , Nov 10, 2014 | 1:32 pm

The latest incarnation of the November Nine gets underway in a few hours, and as per usual there’ll be talk of poker’s “young guns” dominating the big-money prize spots. The old man at the table this year is Bruno Politano, topping out the field chronologically at the crotchety age of 32.

However, while all the remaining players this year may be young, they’re not exactly kids … at least not they way they were in 2010 or 2011.

Maybe it’s just semantics, but what’s different this year is the absence of any player who’s already embarked on a fifth decade of life (a requirement to be in the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame, fwiw) thereby skewing the average. Also 2014’s population of young non-rookies makes for the first year where all competitors at the final table are of an age more comparable to what you’d see in more traditional professional sports.

Here’s a look at how the average age at the WSOP main event final table has changed over the years in the November Nine era. Additional data is below.


PokerStars’ New Jersey Launch In October?

by , Oct 31, 2014 | 1:14 pm

While there was speculation that PokerStars would launch in New Jersey on October 1st having received their license we’re long past that date and nothing was official. However, while we have heard no official word, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker could go live any day now. State evaluations are being still being conducted, remember this is for NJ customers only.

So if you are ready for the PokerStars’ return to the virtual felt, we’ve provided a breakdown of the rules and regulations for playing online poker in the Garden State. We also touch on how their return might impact NJ’s online poker market.

New Jersey’s Regulated Market

You must be 21 or older to sign up at PokerStars NJ or any regulated online poker room in the state. You don’t need to be a New Jersey resident to play online poker. Anyone located the state is eligible to play using geolocation technology.

Players can create a PokerStars NJ account from anywhere in the country. They can also fund their account regardless of their location. Logging in and accessing your account balance can also be done from anywhere in the US. However, they will only be able to play for real-money inside the New Jersey’s borders.