Underdog in Poker?
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Have you ever seen a dog fight? Well, it was very popular during the 19th century.
So, what happens eventually in any dog fight? The dog that usually ends up on the top wins the fight and the other one ends up underneath, and is called the underdog.
Something similar happens in the game of poker, the winner ends up having all the poker chips and the other, most of the time the underdog, loses every chip. This term ‘underdog’ in poker also seems to have originated from dog fighting. So, what is the definition of a poker underdog? Is it always bad to be a poker underdog? Let’s find out.
The term ‘underdog’ is used for a player who is statistically not favored to win a hand. A person who is an underdog is less likely to win the game. To take another way, a poker underdog wins a hand less than 50% of the time. Ofcourse, it doesn't imply that an underdog will surely lose, but yes, the chances of losing are high. This term is also used in games such as rugby, football, cricket and many more. However, the chances of an underdog to win are higher in such games than in poker.
The player other than the poker underdog is known as favourite as he/she has a better probability of winning a hand. So, a poker favourite wins a hand more than 50% of the time. You can better understand this with the help of an example. Let’s say you have AA cards and your opponent has KK. Then, it is clear that you are the poker favourite and your opponent is a poker underdog as KK can be easily defeated by AA.
There can be another situation in the game where you will neither be called a poker favourite nor a poker underdog. This is when both you and your opponent will win half of the times and you will be called ‘to be in a race’.
Your status of being an underdog cannot decide whether you should keep playing or not. It is just an indicator of the probability of winning a hand you have. What matters more are your pot odds and implied odds.
If the amount of money in the pot is large, then you must draw as an underdog but if you are a favorite then you should always play for the win. If you win a hand even being an underdog, it is known as drawing out or sucking out on your opponent. However, this doesn’t mean that you are a strong player because strong players do not waste their time when they are underdog. Instead, they focus upon taking the lead.
As explained above, a poker underdog is likely to win a hand sometimes but the move is too risky to take. You can calculate if you are an underdog or not, just after you deal with the first two hole cards and decide your next moves accordingly. Always remember that strong players are those who focus more upon strategy and less upon winning, because that’s what will help you win more in the long run.
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