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What do the World's Great Poker Players Know...
That You Don't?


Poker Wizard Extracts


Understanding Equity

I think the cross-disciplines of the chess and backgammon tournaments that I used to play have had a strong influence on me as a poker player.
In chess, I ended with a 2355 rating, which was considered to be that of a strong master, and also won the Massachusetts State Championship back in the early ‘70s. I then moved on to backgammon. I was fortunate because the co-author of my books,
Bill Robertie, who was twice a World Backgammon Champion, was the person who taught me how to play. In backgammon, you learn how important equity is.

Positive equity in poker occurs when you put money into the pot and have a plus expectation of getting money back. If you put in $100 and think you’ll extract an average of $120 at the end of the hand, that’s a plus expectation. Having positive equity doesn’t guarantee you’ll win the hand; it just means that if you have enough trials, on average, that’s what your outcome will be. In the investment world, having a 20 percent return on investment would be considered a pretty good expectation, but for some reason many poker players don’t think it’s such a good deal. Maybe in some cases it isn’t, but overall, you should be taking advantage of opportunities with a positive expectation.

When Paul Magriel, who is a great backgammon theoretician and author, took up poker, he couldn’t believe how many poker players didn’t consider equity when they played. Lots of people will say things like, “I am only an 8 to 5 favorite; maybe I shouldn’t play this hand, something better will probably come along.” They don’t understand that when you’ve got equity in front of you, you have to grab it.


Dan Harrington

'Action Dan'
Action Dan

Tournament Winnings Exceeding $6.5 Million

Sixth place, WSOP Championship Event, 1987

Winner, WSOP Championship Event, 1995

Winner, WSOP $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em, 1995

Winner, Four Queens Poker Classic, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, 1995

Winner, Festival of Poker £1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, London, 1995

Third place, WSOP Championship Event, 2003

Fourth place, WSOP Championship Event, 2004

Second place, WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship, 2005

Winner, WPT Legends of Poker Championship Event, Las Vegas 2007


Harrington on Hold’em Volume 1: Strategic Play

Harrington on Hold’em Volume 11: The Endgame

Harrington on Hold’em Volume 111: The Workbook.






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