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Expected Value In Poker - How to calculate the Expected Value Poker?

On the Poker table, it is very common that you have a draw in Flop and your opponent is betting. In this situation, you wonder whether you should bet or fold. If you fold, in the next round, there is a card that you need, it is, unfortunately. However, what is going on if there is not a card you need? Professional


Poker players will not deal with such situations based on their feelings. The decision they make should be based on a solid basis. It is the average profit (or Expected Value) that will tell you which action is more beneficial.

What is the Expected Value?

Expected Value (EV) is considered as the average profit that is a mathematical concept related to probability. It shows you the average value of a specific action if it is repeated infinitely. Thereby, you will know whether to perform that action or not. It can be said that Expected Value is the most important mathematical concept to Poker players. When an action is the positive Expected Value, you will win in the long run. Conversely, an action with the negative Expected Value will make you lose in the long run. Therefore, to be a player making money from Poker, most actions you make on the Poker table must be the positive Expected Value.


How to calculate the Expected Value?

EV is calculated by using the following simple formula:

EV = (% W * $ W) - (% L * $ L)

EV: average profit / expected value.

% W: the probability of winning.

$ W: the money you will win.

% L: the probability of losing.

$ L: the amount will be lost.

Let’s look at the following example.

You and another person play a coin toss, with a betting amount of $10 for each game. No matter what you bet on, in the long run, you will only break-even. It only takes your time and brings you nothing but entertainment because we easily see that the winning probability of each person in the long term is 50%.

However, if the other person is generous, each time you win, you get $20 and if you lose, you only lose $10. Then, everything will be completely different. At this time, your average profit for each game will be:

EV = (50% x $20) - (50% x $10) = $5

So, it means that on the average, each coin toss now you will earn $5. Therefore, it is entirely beneficial to you.

Now, let’s look at a Poker example.

You are currently waiting for a flush in FLop. At this time, the pot has $8 and your opponent place a bet of $2. So should you call or fold? Let's try to calculate the Expected Value so that we can make the right decision in this situation. You will make a profit of $10 if you win and lose a betting amount of $2 if you lose. Through Poker odds, we know your probability of hitting your flush in the next round is 4: 1. It means that your winning probability is 20% and your losing probability is 80%.

EV = (20% x $10) - (80% x $2) = $0.4

Therefore, betting on this situation is a beneficial action, with an average profit of $0.4 in the long term.

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Comparing odds and pot odds to quickly determine the Expected Value

When facing each decision, calculating the average Expected Value can take time. For convenience and faster, we can compare odd and pot odds. Thereby, you will know immediately whether the bet will win or lose in the long term.

Pot Odds is the ratio between the amount of pot and the amount invested (the amount you paid to follow the opponent's bet).

Back to the example in the previous section, if you win, you get a pot of $10. If losing, you just lose $2. Therefore, the pot odds here would be 10:2 which is equivalent to 5:1.


If pot odds are higher than odds, it is positive EV (EV +). It means that you win in the long run.

If pot odds are lower than odds, it is negative EV (EV-). It means that losing in the long run.

Back to the situation above, you will win if hitting the flush whose odds in the next round are 4:1 because when comparing, we see pot odds (5: 1) is higher than odds (4: 1). Therefore, according to the bet, in this case, it is a beneficial move.



This article provides the most basic knowledge about Expected Value or average profit in poker. We know when you begin using the Expected Value while playing poker will be very difficult. However, with gradual practice, you will master and it will become an instinctive thing on your poker table at Singapore Online Casino