Random deal for A♠ 7♣ (2013-11-24, 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: A-7 of mixed suits

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

Expected win rate2 vs. eight random hands (nine-handed): 11.4% (11.11% is average)

Odds against being dealt a hand in this category3: 109.5 to 1

MCU4 ranking against few opponents (limit): 50 of 169

MCU4 ranking against many opponents (limit): 84 of 169

MCU4 composite ranking (limit / all situations): 65 of 169

COPS5 units6 won or lost (limit / nine-handed): -0.27

COPS5 units6 won or lost (no-limit / nine-handed): -0.17

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 0.02% 98%
Four of a kind 0.13% 100%
Full house 2.20% 95%
Flush 1.95% 87%
Straight 3.06% 88%
Three of a kind 4.49% 82%
Two pair 22.8% 85%
One pair 45.8% No data1
No pair 19.5% 30%

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 hands tie, a portion of a win is credited. (Usually 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 ↓
11% chance 16% chance 30% chance 10% chance 32% chance

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

Starting hand comments

Deb has the best chances with ace-king of hearts, also called “big slick” suited. But Bob has almost as good a chance, trialing 30 percent to Deb’s 32.

The race between Deb and Bob is closer than you might expect, because both of Deb’s ranks are copied in other hands, making it harder to pair. Only Bob’s 10 is copied.

Bob also has more range to make a straight. He has slightly worse chance of making a flush, though, because Deb has zero of her hearts in other hands. Bob suffers one suit duplication (which is still better than average expectation in that department).

Our hopes are weak, because our ace is outkicked by Deb.

Starting hand table talk (while awaiting the flop)

Nobody is talking so far today.

Let’s see the flop…

↑ FLOP ↑

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
7% chance 11% chance 23% chance 4% chance 55% chance

Flop comments

Well, we paired our seven, but our chances got worse. That’s because both Cal and Deb paired their kings.

Of course, a pair of kings is bad news for Cal, because Deb has an ace. In fact Cal is now in last place with only a 3.5 percent share (rounded up to 4 percent above).

Deb now is the odds-on favorite to win the showdown at 55 percent. However, she’ll have to survive Amy’s open-end straight draw, as well as an inside-straight attempt by Bob.

Flop table talk (while awaiting the turn)

BOB: Did you see that ridiculous line on Sunday night football? It’s Denver at New England.

AMY: I love the song, I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night.

DEB: It was better when Faith Hill sang it. I don’t think Carrie Underwood seems as genuine about football. Let’s poll the table.

AMY: I agree. Faith Hill.

BOB: Underwood.CAL: Underwood. It’s a tie. Mike decides.

MIKE CARO: I haven’t decided. I just know anything’s better than that Thursday night NFL my city song.

MIKE CARO. Bob, if you think tonight’s line is bad, who do you like? Denver is a two-and-a-half point favorite, right?

BOB: Right. I like New England. I don’t see how Tom Brady can be an underdog at home.

MIKE CARO: Okay, friendly wager. I’ll take Denver and bet you an ante.

BOB: Fine, a friendly million dollar bet it is.

Show us the turn card…

↑ FLOP ↑                 ↑ TURN ↑

↓ Our hand ↓ ↓ Amy ↓ ↓ Bob ↓ ↓ Cal ↓ ↓ Deb ↓
0% chance 4% chance 96% chance 0% chance 0% chance

Turn comments

Just the card Amy would be dreaming of in a regular game. She not only hit her open-end straight, she hit it on the high end (which isn’t always a good thing, as you see).

But this isn’t a regular poker game. It’s showdown, and everyone knows everyone else’s cards. So, Amy sees that the jack made a higher straight for Bob.

You should always be alert for such possibilities when you play poker. They are often overlooked.

Amy maintains faint hope of splitting the pot if Bob makes a meaningless pair of queens on the river. Then they’ll both have the same king-high straight.

We have no way to win and can only watch the final card.

Number of winning river cards: 0 of 38 remaining

Turn table talk (while awaiting the river)

Nothing is said

We’re ready to ride the river…

↑ FLOP ↑                 ↑ TURN ↑    ↑ RIVER ↑

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

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

Results after 8 days

  Us Amy Bob Cal Deb
Wins 1 0 2 2 3
Result -$3,000,000 -$8,000,000 +$2,000,000 +$2,000,000 +$7,000,000
Days since
last win
1 0 2 4

Final poker words

There’s nothing really unusual about today’s hand. Bob had the second-best hopes in the beginning and turned them into victory.

We were eliminated on the turn card and had to choose whether to politely observe or complain loudly. We chose to sulk in silence.

Amy still hasn’t won a showdown. As she left the table today, tears filling her eyes, but not falling, she sighed, “I can’t believe I’m still a virgin.” Bob told her that this could change tomorrow. She glared at him.

Final real-life words

Sometimes in life, you can’t win the skirmish. Your fate is already decided, as it was for us today after the turn card. That’s when you should remain hopeful by using that idle time to anticipate your next adventure.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):

Amy. 28 years old. Asian. Politically very liberal. A little shy. Married. Two daughters, aged 3 and 5. Doesn’t swear. Pretty.

Bob. 53 years old. Caucasian. Politically a bit left of center. Divorced. Has crush on Amy. Pretty crude sometimes. Attractive.

Cal. 40 years old. African-American. Politically right of center. Business oriented. Married. Has son in college. Never gets upset. Body builder in great shape.

Deb. 35 years old. Caucasian. Politically conservative, but kind of libertarian. Outspoken. Married. No children. Sometimes likes to be shocking. Gorgeous.

Mike Caro. See link to my bio on the Poker1 home page. After that, it gets worse. You never know what I’m going to say or do — and neither do I.

(Note: Personalities above may be modified before Poker1 officially opens. After that, they’re pretty much trapped in time, never aging or evolving — except possibly for me.)

% 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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