Come on, read know you want to...

Its Tuesday, so we must be going to the mail bag.  A regular reader asked an interesting question about an online site.  Basically, the question concerned donkey's hitting 2 and 3 out rivers for the win.  It certainly seems you see it more often online than in live games.

For example, someone calls an all in with four to a flush.  Lets make it simple and say that after the flops you have trip Aces, and they have 4 to the flush.  So they have 9 outs, but one of those outs pairs the non-flush card on the board, so we're down to 8.  Ignore any straight implications, and lets stick with the flush.  Eight outs, two cards to come, is approximately 30%.  So they have a 30% chance to win, leaving you with 70%. 

Or, you can look at it like I do, and go with individual cards (turn and river) rather than combined.  I use this if there is still more betting to do, but it works all in too.  When there is more betting, it is more accurate though.  Eight outs, 1 card, is around 15% to hit on the turn.  If it doesn't, then it is about 15% again to hit on the river. 

 So in either way of calculation...the odds of hitting your flush draw are NOT GOOD.  But people call with them all the time. 

Now, since people call with them all the time, why does it APPEAR that they win with it ALL THE TIME? only see the cards revealed when they win.  You don't see the losing cards 70% of the time, so you don't know if they called your trips with pocket Kings, a straight draw, or a flush draw.  You usually only see it when you are either all in with them, or you lose.  So it APPEARS that the bad outs hit ALL THE TIME online.

Another reason you see it online more is simple mathmatics.  You play more hands online than you do live.  The blinds are faster, the dealer is always ready, there aren't any misdeals, there isn't any delay to chop a pot, breaks are only 5 minutes, etc etc etc.  So if you see more hands, you'll see more bad beats.  It is as simple as that.

I read an article one time that Doyle Brunson believes that today's online player sees more hands in a year than he did in his first 20 years of playing live poker.  So you have to figure if you're seeing 20 times more hands, you're seeing 20 times more bad beats.

Anyway, what happened to generate the email is that a player shoved all in on a flop of J-10-4.  The emailer called with J-10 in his hand.  The all in bettor had 9-9.  Donkey?  Sort of.  He shoved all in with the hopes of taking down the pot uncalled.  He was wrong.  And of course, the river was a 9.  At the time, that's a 4% chance of hitting.  But guess what?  If there was no chance of the 9 coming, then it would have been 0%, not 4%. 

What are the odds of hitting the powerball lottery?  Less than 1%.  Lets just keep it there.  OK, if you want specifics, it is 1:146,107,962.  So you have a 1 in 150 MILLION chance of winning the lottery.  .0000000015%.  How's that?  But guess what?  People hit it and win millions of dollars.  So if they can hit a lottery draw with a 1 in 150 million chance, they can hit a 9 on the river with a 4%.  Heck, give me the choice between a 4% and a .0000000015%, and I'll take the 4% every time.

Was it a good move?  Should he have won?  No on both.  But you shouldn't buy lottery tickets either, and its a multi-billion dollar industry. 

Here's a little note to think about.  The next time you go to buy a lottery ticket, ask yourself if you'd call an all in, preflop, with pocket 2's.  If you wouldn't, don't buy the lottery tickets. 




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