Random deal for 10♦ Q♦ (2013-11-22, pre-opening)

How it works:

Each day, Mike Caro deals a hold ’em starting hand, which is displayed on the Poker1.com home page.

When you click the link, you come to a page (like this one) that provides the statistics for that category of hand.

Then we ante $1 million and deal a five-player showdown.

IMPORTANT: This Poker1.com home-page feature is experimental. I haven’t decided whether it will appear daily after P1 officially opens, whether it will appear occasionally, or whether it will be abandoned. The decision will depend largely on the number of visits it receives.

Hands are posted soon after being dealt. Please let me know about any glitches. — Mike Caro

→ Jump down to today’s $5 million showdown

→ Choose a previous random hand

Anatomy of today’s hold ’em hand

Category1: Q-10 of same suits

Expected win rate2 vs. a random hand (heads up): 59% (50% is average)

Expected win rate2 vs. eight random hands (nine-handed): 18% (11.11% is average)

Odds against being dealt a hand in this category3: 330.5 to 1

MCU4 ranking against few opponents (limit): 35 of 169

MCU4 ranking against many opponents (limit): 20 of 169

MCU4 composite ranking (limit / all situations): 24 of 169

COPS5 units6 won or lost (limit / nine-handed): +0.38

COPS5 units6 won or lost (no-limit / nine-handed): +0.38

NOTE: Unlike the precisely accurate Mike Caro statistics found elsewhere at Poker1, the chart below was generated by simulating 1,000,000 deals randomly by computer.

When you compare today’s distribution chart to other days, you’ll notice slight differences in statistics that should be exactly the same. Keep this in mind next time you play poker:

Your luck probably won’t stabilize, even after a million deals.

Distribution chart of outcomes7
(final strength)
Chance of finishing
with this outcome
Heads-up win-loss
with this outcome
Straight flush 0.15% 100%
Four of a kind 0.12% 95%
Full house 2.25% 96%
Flush 6.45% 96%
Straight 6.98% 95%
Three of a kind 4.29% 77%
Two pair 21.9% 74%
One pair 41.4% No data1
No pair 16.5% 21%

1This percentage is only provided for paired starting hands, because most other hands results can be heavily skewed by the possibility of board pairs. Although similar issues affect other final hand strengths, the statistics for them usually aren’t quite as misleading.

NOTES: *For ties (i.e., “split pots”), chances are prorated in accordance with the share of the pot won. *This chart doesn’t differentiate between results using both starting cards, one starting card, and no starting cards (“playing the board”). *The win/loss rate for hands in a category ignores ties.


1CATEGORY: There are 169 categories of hold ’em starting hands: 13 for pairs, 78 for non-paired cards of mixed suits, and 78 for cards of the same suit.

Categories have various numbers of members, depending on the suits and the order the cards arrive.

Therefore, there are 2,652 hold ’em starting hands that can be displayed at Poker1, assuming, as an example, that K-7 and 7-K are different. But, because order of arrival doesn’t really matter for hold ’em starting hands, there are actually only half as many combinations — 1,326 — that the 169 categories comprise.

2WIN RATE is based on computer simulation of one million deals through the showdown using Mike Caro’s Poker Probe software or another program based on the Mike Caro Poker Engine. When a hands ties, a portion of a win is credited. (Rounded to nearest percent.)

3ODDS AGAINST: There are only three possible likelihoods for any category of hand. They are 220-to-1 against a specific pair, 330.5-to-1 against any specific ranks of the same suit, and 109.5-to-1 against any specific unpaired ranks of mixed suits.

4MCU is Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy.

The MCU rankings are for limit hold ’em. No-limit rankings are similar and often identical.

The composite category is a compromise between many and few opponents. So, it may seem strange that sometimes it can be higher or lower than both. That’s because it was determined by the actual strength relative to other composite hands, not by adding the two other rankings and dividing by two.

5COPS is Caro Online Poker Solutions — the cheating prevention system for online poker developed by Mike Caro and Bill Handy. Here’s a link to a Poker1 entry about COPS: → Go there.

6UNITS: The big blind is one unit. Therefore, +2.1 “units won or lost,” if applied to a $10 big-blind game, means the hand averages a $21 profit; -0.4 means it averages a $4 loss.

The units were calculated from a COPS database of hands played online. Some hands that are higher on the MCU rankings are misplayed and, therefore, lose more than worse hands (such as 7-2 of mixed suits) that are more often folded.

Unit information was supplied by Bill Handy, my COPS-project colleague. It is subject to revision.

7CHART OF OUTCOMES: The distribution chart lists the likelihood of outcomes from a royal flush down to no pair. The statistics reflect the final strength of the hand after all five board cards are dealt, whether both starting cards are used, one is used, or the board is played. To save time, I simulated 1,000,000 deals and, so, the statistics aren’t as precise as others found at Poker1.com that I personally calculated.

→ Jump up to anatomy of today’s hand

→ Choose a previous random hand

Today’s $5 million showdown

— Introduction —

Now we enter today’s hold ’em hand in our $5,000,000 showdown.
Yes, it’s imaginary.

You can treat it two ways:

  • as a substitute for astrology, signaling the kind of luck
    you can expect today
    ; or
  • as amusement, like I do.

Your choice. Remember that — similar to real life — you might
only need to be lucky once in five days to break even.


Some days, you’ll find comments from me and other players, while we await the flop, turn, and river.

The table talk is sometimes about poker, but often about life, politics, or whatever. We might get sidetracked, and you can just scroll down to see the next cards dealt, if you choose.

A player personality guide is provided in “Showdown notes,” near the bottom. As for “Mike Caro,” I’ll say almost anything — motivational, trivial, or controversial.

Please promise not to get mad at me. I’m just sharing.

So, let’s ante $1 million and see what happens…

Today’s starting hands…

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
33% chance 6% chance 19% chance 18% chance 23% chance

(Note: A 20 percent chance is average at all stages.)

Starting hand comments

Another day when we have the best chance of winning, so we’re optimistic. Deb is in second place with a pocket pair of fours.

But since there’s only one opposing card ranking higher than either our queen or ten, we’re quite content. Better yet, nobody is duplicating either of our ranks, so we’re completely live in that regard.

Our cards are suited, so that’s a positive. But, unfortunately, Bob holds the king of diamonds, meaning we’ll need to make a flush with exactly three diamonds on board. If four diamonds appear, we’ll lose.

Amy’s feeling miserable, because her high-card — only an eight, at that — is copied by Bob. And Bob holds the highest rank with a king, so his chances aren’t much less than the 20 percent average. Cal is suited and, in fact, could see three cards fit between his seven and three to make a straight flush — but he shouldn’t put much hope in that. Like us, Cal will need three of his suit and not four, because of Amy’s eight of clubs.

Starting hand table talk (while awaiting the flop)

Silence today.

Let’s see the flop…

↑ FLOP ↑

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
2% chance 9% chance 5% chance 23% chance 61% chance

Flop comments

Golly dang! We just dropped from a 33 percent chance to 2 percent, because Deb flopped a set of fours.

She now has a 61 percent chance. Moreover, she’s aiming to continuing her domination of our table by winning her fourth showdown in the first six days.

Somebody please stop Deb!

Our only hope of winning the whole pot is if a king and a jack are the next two cards. And they can’t both be hearts or a flush will beat us. Note that catching Q-Q or 10-10 wouldn’t save us, because that would give Deb a full house.

Flop table talk (while awaiting the turn)

Everyone is quiet now.

Show us the turn card…

↑ FLOP ↑                 ↑ TURN ↑

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
2% chance 2% chance 2% chance 70% chance 25% chance

Turn comments

What a sorry turn card for us. But it’s the same misery for Amy and Bob. None of us can win, but we can hope for a five-way tie, if a three hits the board, making a five-high straight. Remember, our chances include portions of the pot. Our real chance is less than 2 percent, but was rounded up.

The main battle is now between Deb, who has fallen to a 25 percent chance with her three fours, and Cal, who already owns the straight we’re hoping to make.

Number of winning river cards: 0 of 38 remaining (but three cards will tie)

Turn table talk (while awaiting the river)

We’re all speechless today.

We’re ready to ride the river…

↑ FLOP ↑                 ↑ TURN ↑    ↑ RIVER ↑

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
Lost Lost Lost — WON — Lost

Cal won the $5,000,000 pot — a $4,000,000 profit

Results after 6 days

  Us Amy Bob Cal Deb
Wins 0 0 1 2 3
Result -$6,000,000 -$6,000,000 -$1,000,000 +$4,000,000 +$9,000,000
Days since
last win
3 0 2

Final poker words

So, Cal held on to take the whole pot with his straight. Deb is disappointed, but still $9,000,000 ahead.

This was Cal’s second win in a row.

Final real-life words

When your in a drought like this in the real world, just be patient. There’s nothing you can do about luck. Continue to make quality decisions about things you can influence.

In life, there’s usually somebody nearby that’s faring as poorly or worse than you are. In our case, it’s Amy. She hasn’t won yet, either. Let’s make it our goal to be first to win. It’s something to focus on.

You see, in life you often can’t recover everything quickly. So make a game out of succeeding with the next small step. And celebrate each small victory as it comes. — MC


AMY, BOB, CAL, DEB: We play against these same opponents each day. The three-letter names were chosen because they substitute for players A (Amy), B (Bob), C (Cal), and D (Deb).

PLAYER PERSONALITIES (for table talk): Pending.

% CHANCE: The percentages given beneath each players cards are determined by simulation of 1,000,000 deals (5,000,000 individual hands), using Mike Caro’s Poker Probe software. They are rounded to the nearest whole percent, so it’s possible that some could have been very near the mid point and rounded up, when they should have been rounded down, and vice versa. In some cases, the percentages may not add to exactly 100 percent, because of the rounding.

→ Jump up to anatomy of today’s hand

→ Jump up to today’s $5 million showdown

→ Choose a previous random hand

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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