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Counterfeiting Winning Hold 'Em Poker Hands

There are some interesting phenomena in looking at hand rankings of Hold em poker hands. One of these is known as counterfeiting. When it happens, it feels like you had a winner and then at the last moment, your hand turns to garbage. Wonder how that could happen?

Your odds of winning a hand of Hold 'Em are reduced the more people there are at the table. First we'll look at the Texas Holdem hand rankings.

Royal Flush
A, K, Q, J, 10
Straight Flush
3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (in order, suited)
Four-of-a-Kind
5, 5, 5, 5, x (or four of any number/face)
Full House
7, 7, 7, 9, 9 (any 3/2 combination)
Flush
4, 5, 6, J, K (suited, any number/face)
Straight
3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (unsuited, in order)
Three-of-a-Kind
10, 10, 10, 4, 5 (any number that matches)
Two Pair
6, 6, 2, 2 (any numbers that match)
One Pair
8, 8 (any number that matches)

Now, you can see that having a straight that contains an Ace is a pretty desirable hand to hold. But what if your hand was 2, 3, 4, 5? It's simple, put the Ace at the low end of the hand and you have a straight, A, 2, 3, 4, 5. Wonderful! But  of the blue comes a lowly little 6. Now a 6 isn't going to harm most  in this case, it just gave you the weakest straight. That, my friend, is called counterfeiting.

To stay ahead of a losing streak in Hold 'Em, you want to play the odds. When you are dealt a hand, the first thing you want to do is to calculate the number of outs you have. These are the opportunities you have to improve your hand. For example, if you are holding 3,3,8, you have two outs, another 3 or an 8. Pulling another eight will only result in still having a pair, but it's a stronger pair than the 3s present. Pulling another 3, however, will give you a set, or three-of-a-kind, which definitely beats a pair of anything, including Aces. The more outs you have, the better hand you're holding because you have more opportunities to make a stronger Hold 'Em hand.

Everything in Vegas runs on odds, and they're always slanted toward the casino. Hold 'Em is one of the few games where you can actually come out ahead simply because in this case the casino takes a percentage up front; you are therefore encouraged to win. You only need see all the prosperity in towns like Vegas to recognize that they are very successful in following the odds, and you will be likewise. Leave gut instinct and luck to the losers.

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