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Poker Concepts: Short Term Expected Value

Expected value is an important concept for any poker player to learn. Expected value is your expected profit or loss percentage that you can assume you are going to incur at any time when you sit in a certain game, whether you run bad or good. Variance may be your short term luck, whether it be bad or good, but your expected value, or EV, is what really matters in the long run. Your EV is what determines whether you are a profitable player, or just someone who enjoys playing the game. Your EV does vary from game to game, and from situation to situation, however you need to realize what you can do to maximize it and stick to it.

 

When players decide to evaluate their own expected value, they often misunderstand what information is required, using to many variables instead of their specific current situation. Players fail to understand that their EV must be focused on the now, and figuring if this situation is one that they want to continue to put themselves in. While you must take a look at your past results in order to determine what you can expect in the future, you also must look at your current expectation specific to your situation.

At some point in your poker career, it is inevitable that you will find yourself in some type of game and situation where your EV is negative. It is bound to happen. A common example of this is when a player is crushing a low level NLHE game, and moves up in levels where his edge is much smaller, while is overall EV is still high, his short term expectation is negative.

 

Expectation can change much quicker than many players realize, like having a great hand on the flop and an opponent turning the nuts. This can cause the poker virus called tilt, and a player with a big edge can become the table donkey in a heartbeat. Even though that players long term EV stays high, in that current situation and game, he or she just took a nose dive. Tilt is just one factor that can change your EV.

 

Playing when not in prime condition will have a definite influence on your expectation. Any distractions you are incurring, whether they be health related, personal, or simply not being in in the mood to play your best poker leads to negative expectation. If your are feeling as such, simply stay away from poker until you are in the right frame of mind.

 

Something players do that can often cause them to have a big losing session is to use their long term positive EV to justify sitting in a game where they know they are in a negative EV situation. Your long term win rate is derived from situations where you are playing optimal poker, and when you are not playing optimal poker, you can throw your long term EV out the window. Alternatively you may have a day far over expected value, to which you can not get overly excited about and use as an excuse to play over your bankroll.

 

laying your best poker requires a high level of attentiveness and awareness on your behalf. If you are playing your best poker game and not tilting even though you are down, then staying at the table is not a bad idea, even though your short term EV is negative, and there are other times when you will be in definite negative EV situations, and find yourself ahead anyway, thats when you need to force yourself to leave. Poker requires a high level of discipline, and this is one area where you need to exhibit it. Knowing yourself and how your mood and mind set affects your poker game is crucial.

 

You also want to be aware of your opponents state, and recognize when their short term EV takes a dive, so that you can take full advantage of the situation. Experience will provide the situations you need to determine your highest EV, and will allow you to feel enough poker emotions that you will be able to determine when your short term EV is negative. Always strive to play your best poker in any situation, and if you can't find a new one.

The Basics of Value Betting

Short Term EV

5 Mistakes When Playing Pocket Aces

Playing Irrational Players

Thinking Through Your Poker Hands

Playing Your Draws Aggressively

Basic Bankroll Management

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 1

9 Reasons You Lose At Cash Games

NLHE Table Selection

Playing Middle Suited Connectors

Playing OverPairs

Avoiding Tilt

6 Tips for Beginners

Playing The Turn in NLHE

Tournament Play - Playing The Shortstack

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 2