|1315125. Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:40 pm
|Howdy. Longtime QI fan, didn't know these forums existed.
I don't know how many people play Texas Holdem poker, but if you do, here's some general ignorance I'd start off with.
* In Texas Holdem, what two starting cards are most likely have a nearly exactly 50% chance of winning against any two random cards?
Forfeit: Queen-Seven (or "The Computer Hand.")
Correct Answers: Jack-Five suited (or Queen-Five offsuit)
One semi-famous story in poker is that the nickname for the poker-hand Queen-Seven off-suit (that is, the cards are two different suits) is "the Computer Hand" because, as the legend was passed down, during the early days of computing, someone used a computer to figure out that Queen Seven had a 50% chance of winning and a 50% chance of losing against any other random hand in Texas Holdem.
However, if that simulation ever was run, computers have become more sophisticated since then. At ProPokerTools.com, you can run all 2,097,572,400 different combinations of Q7 vs. every other random hand on every possible runout of the cards, and the computer can calculate all of them, and Queen-Seven, when it is off-suited, has 51.77% "equity".
Equity is slightly different from win/loss ratio, because Equity also includes the time you get half your money back because you have tied, but it's pretty much the same thing.
For queen-based hands, Queen-Five offsuit is much closer to 50% equity, at 50.12%, and the actual card combination closest to 50% equity is Jack-Five suited at 49.99%
One possible explanation for the misinterpretation is that the early days of computing pre-date the early days of Texas Holdem, which didn't get popular until 1967 when Texas gamblers brought it to Las Vegas. The most popular form of poker before then was seven-card stud, a different form of poker, in which you are dealt two cards down and one card face up to start, Queen-Seven as your face-down cards - given both the combination of suited and off-suited cards is closer to 50% at 49.24, given that your up-card is random. Even in stud, however, Queen Eight offsuit is 49.74%, slightly closer.