Targeted poker quiz 02: Hold ’em (beginner)


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. This 39-part series of quizzes, originally published (2004-2006) in Poker Player, is based on the Mike Caro University of Poker library of research and advice. In each entry, Mike Caro presents 10 questions covering a category of poker, targeted for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players. Answers with explanations appear below each quiz, with the questions repeated for easy reference.


The MCU Targeted Poker Quiz series

(See the index to this series)

Strategy – Hold ’em (level: beginner)

  1. On average, in hold ’em, how often will you begin with a pair before the flop?

    (a) one time in four;

    (b) one time in 221;

    (c) one time in 47;

    (d) one time in 17.

  2. If a pair flops…

    (a) it’s impossible for anyone to have four of a kind so far;

    (b) it’s impossible for anyone to have a full house so far;

    (c) it’s impossible for anyone to have three of a kind so far;

    (d) it’s impossible for anyone to have a flush so far.

  3. In hold ’em, there can never be a full house against a flush in the same hand

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

  4. If you hold A-K, your opponent holds 3-3, and the board is A-A-8-4, then…

    (a) it’s impossible for anyone to make a flush, no matter what suits are involved;

    (b) you can’t lose, no matter what the fifth and final board card turns out to be;

    (c) your opponent could catch a 3 and beat you;

    (d) your opponent is actually the favorite.

  5. You will begin with a pair of aces in hold ’em…

    (a) once in 221 hands;

    (b) once in 99 hands;

    (d) once in 1,217 hands;

    (d) once in 51 hands.

  6. In hold ’em, the most profitable starting hand is J-10 of the same suits…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  7. If the board is 10-7-4-3 of four different suits, you hold 9-6, and your opponent holds 2-2, how many of the remaining 44 unknown cards will provide you with a win?

    (a) 8;

    (b) none;

    (c) 14;

    (d) 4.

  8. A small pair before the flop in hold ’em isn’t as strong as it seems to many beginners, because…

    (a) any opponent with two higher cards either started with a superior pair or can make a superior pair if the flop shows one card of their rank;

    (b) against more than one active opponent, you’ll usually need to make at least three of a kind to have the best hand;

    (c) if big cards flop, it will be hard to justify calling any bets, even if you do have the best hand;

    (d) all of the above.

  9. So-called “suited connectors,” such as 9-8 of the same suit are usually more profitable if played against…

    (a) opponents who often raise;

    (b) a large number of opponents;

    (c) tight opponents;

    (d) exactly two opponents.

  10. A big key to winning at hold ’em is…

    (a) always play any pair aggressively to start;

    (b) never call a bet unless the flop improves your hand;

    (c) usually play high-ranking cards;

    (d) all of the above.


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Strategy – Hold ’em (level: beginner)

  1. On average, in hold ’em, how often will you begin with a pair before the flop?

    (a) one time in four;

    (b) one time in 221;

    (c) one time in 47;

    (d) one time in 17.

    Answer: (d). It’s pretty easy to see this, if you think about it. Your first card has to be some rank. And then there are only 51 remaining unknown cards, three of which match the rank you’ve been dealt. That’s three of 51, which is the same as one in 17.

  2. If a pair flops…

    (a) it’s impossible for anyone to have four of a kind so far;

    (b) it’s impossible for anyone to have a full house so far;

    (c) it’s impossible for anyone to have three of a kind so far;

    (d) it’s impossible for anyone to have a flush so far.

    Answer: (d). Nobody could possibly make a flush on the flop, unless all three cards are of the same suit. The presence of a pair on the flop means there must be at least two different suits present.

  3. In hold ’em, there can never be a full house against a flush in the same hand

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

    Answer: (b). Of course you can have a collision between a full house and a flush. All it takes is a board like 10c 10d Qd 2d Ks and two hands of Kc 10c (tens full) against Ad 9d (ace-high flush) or a board like Ac 4c 6c Ad 3c and two hand of As 3s (aces full) against Ah Kc (ace-high flush). Get used to these collisions. In this second example, both hands make three aces with A-K in the lead and then making the best-possible flush on the river (last card). Unfortunately, that’s not good enough, because the A-3 makes a full house, using the same river card.

  4. If you hold A-K, your opponent holds 3-3, and the board is A-A-8-4, then…

    (a) it’s impossible for anyone to make a flush, no matter what suits are involved;

    (b) you can’t lose, no matter what the fifth and final board card turns out to be;

    (c) your opponent could catch a 3 and beat you;

    (d) your opponent is actually the favorite.

    Answer: (c). If a three falls on the river, your opponent has a full house (3-3-3-A-A) and you still have only three aces.

  5. You will begin with a pair of aces in hold ’em…

    (a) once in 221 hands;

    (b) once in 99 hands;

    (d) once in 1,217 hands;

    (d) once in 51 hands.

    Answer: (a). It’s a very well-known statistic that you should know. It means that, at a 10-handed table, there’s going to be about one incidence of pocket aces every 22 deals.

  6. In hold ’em, the most profitable starting hand is J-10 of the same suits…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (b). Long ago, at the dawn of hold ’em discovery, some players thought this was the ultimate starting hand, because it had so many ways to improve. Now we know it is only a moderately strong hand, at best, and sometimes not even profitable to play.

  7. If the board is 10-7-4-3 of four different suits, you hold 9-6, and your opponent holds 2-2, how many of the remaining 44 unknown cards will provide you with a win?

    (a) 8;

    (b) none;

    (c) 14;

    (d) 4.

    Answer: (c). You can make two different straights, a 10-high straight by catching an eight or a seven-high straight by catching a five. Additionally, you can win by pairing either your nine or your six. So, there are four eights and four fives remaining, plus three nines and three sixes. Add it all up and there are 14 cards you can escape with. (Note: There was a typo in the original quiz, making (c) read “16.” You get credit for this one if you chose (c), because it was closest or because you guessed it was typed wrong, or if you said all answers were wrong.)

  8. A small pair before the flop in hold ’em isn’t as strong as it seems to many beginners, because…

    (a) any opponent with two higher cards either started with a superior pair or can make a superior pair if the flop shows one card of their rank;

    (b) against more than one active opponent, you’ll usually need to make at least three of a kind to have the best hand;

    (c) if big cards flop, it will be hard to justify calling any bets, even if you do have the best hand;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (d). Small pairs are marginally profitable hands, at best.

  9. So-called “suited connectors,” such as 9-8 of the same suit are usually more profitable if played against…

    (a) opponents who often raise;

    (b) a large number of opponents;

    (c) tight opponents;

    (d) exactly two opponents.

    Answer: (b). These hands often need to convert to a straight or flush in order to win. Because of that, you’d like many opponents involved, so that when you get lucky enough to convert, you’ll win a pot big enough to reward the risk.

  10. A big key to winning at hold ’em is…

    (a) always play any pair aggressively to start;

    (b) never call a bet unless the flop improves your hand;

    (c) usually play high-ranking cards;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (c). High-ranking cards are the key to success at hold ’em. They account for the vast majority of your profit.


Next MCU Targeted Poker Quiz in this series

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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.

6 thoughts on “Targeted poker quiz 02: Hold ’em (beginner)”

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  1. Hi Mike!
    Caught a grammatical (missing IT) and a typo (extra b) in the last sentence of answer #6.
    The test was a bit tricky, but I’m glad I aced it (pun intended).

    Cheers,
    Mika

    1. Hi, Mika —

      Both of the glitches you reported have been fixed. Thanks for reporting them.

      Those fixes will be noted in today’s change log (link on home page), with credit for your discovery.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  2. Hi Mike,

    Love the site. But I think there is another typo in question 7. A five won’t make you a straight.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    1. Hi, Peter —

      Great catch! Fixed it. And thanks for contributing to the new Poker1.

      To anyone else: Whenever you discover mistakes or glitches (including card-suit, formatting issues, and grammatical issues) please let us know. See https://www.poker1.com/archives/1757 or leave a comment, as Peter did.

      So much information is being uploaded from offline archives that we haven’t had time to fine tune much of it. Your help is truly appreciated.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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