Sunday, October 19, 2008

Formula for Success

The Formula for Success is: Amount risked/ (Current Pot + Amount Risked)

Like many poker concepts, the Formula for Success is really just common sense given a name. But the naming of it helps solidify the idea, making it easier to understand much like "semibluffing," "stack to pot ratio" and a thousand other terms.

One of the most practical uses of the Formula for Success is to determine the percentage of the time a bluff needs to work to show a profit, as discussed in CardRunners' "Heads Up: Zero to Sixty in 15,5650 Seconds, Part 1 of 6."

For example, you can figure how often a continuation bet needs to get a fold to be successful, assuming you have 0 equity otherwise.

A pot-sized continuation bet needs to work: 50 percent of the time
3/4 pot c-bet: 42.86 percent
2/3 pot c-bet: 40 percent
1/2 pot c-bet: 33.33 percent

The formula works equally well when figuring how often a 4-bet needs to work, as discussed in DeucesCracked's Spaceman in a Cowboy Suit: Ep. 6.

In the DC example, a $93 raise/4-bet needs to get a fold about 64 percent of the time if there's $53 already in the pot.

Another way to use the formula is to figure out whether how often a call in an all-in pot needs to be profitable, which I referenced in my last post.

In that usage, calculating the amount of a call relative to the total pot size will determine how often you need to win the pot when you call. From there, you can do additional math to account for hand ranges, outs or other factors.

Warning: I make math mistakes sometimes. Please point out any errors if you see them.

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