Poker Tournament Formula Spreadsheet

Following the same organizational ideas as we have used so far in this series, this week we’re going to look at one of my favorite topics in poker: checking to induce a bluff. We’re going to make a simple spreadsheet along the lines of what we have made in the previous four weeks of this series to analyze an example river situation.

Details of the Scenario

For our example checking situation, we’re going to be on the river against a single opponent with one bet left. We have the option to check or shove. If we shove, our opponent will call some percentage of the time, and when he calls, we will have a certain amount of equity that determines if we win or lose. Alternatively, we can check. From that point, our opponent will either check or shove himself, and we’re planning to always call if he shoves. We will then have some amount of equity against this opponent’s shove.

First Thing’s First

As always, our first place to begin is by breaking down all of the possible outcomes of each of our strategic decisions. Here is a complete list of what can happen after we shove along with our profit for each outcome:

1. Villain folds, we profit the pot
2. Villain calls, we win the hand, we profit the pot + bet size
3. Villain calls, we lose the hand, we lose our bet size

This lends itself to the following EV equation:

EV of betting = (Villain’s fold %)(pot size) + (Villain’s call %)(our equity when called)(pot + bet size) + (Villain’s call %)(Villain’s equity when called)(-bet size)

Along these lines, here are the possible outcomes if we check:

1. Villain checks, we win the hand, we profit the pot
2. Villain checks, we lose the hand, we profit zero
3. Villain bets and we call, we win the hand, we profit the pot + bet size
4. Villain bets and we call, we lose the hand, we lose our bet size

And again, we get an EV equation for checking from these outcomes:

EV of checking = (Villain’s check %)(our equity when checked thru)(pot size) + (Villain’s check %)(Villain’s equity when checked thru)(zero) + (Villain’s bet %)(our equity when check-call)(pot + bet size) + (Villain’s bet %)(Villain’s equity when check-call)(-bet size)

The idea is that we want to have an EV equation for each of these options (betting and checking) so that our spreadsheet will automatically calculate the EV of each of the options for easy comparison. We will more or less copy and paste these EV equations and put in the cells for the appropriate variables when we set up our spreadsheet.

Setting Up the Spreadsheet

To set up the spreadsheet, we need to set up spots for the variables that we need. Like in the previous installments of this series, we’ll put variables we input on the left column and variables that are calculated by the spreadsheet in the right column for the sake of organization. We figure out which variables we need from the EV equations we created above, and then we make spots for those variables as needed. Only then do we put together the EV equation inside of the spreadsheet.

Here’s what things should look like when we have the EV equation for betting together:

I’ve added some test values that are kind of arbitrary, but I’ve also highlighted the formula used for the EV equation in the image so that you can check it against your own results. If you don’t know how to do this, or if you’re completely lost, then go back through the EV Calculations series and the Studying Poker With Spreadsheets series after that.

Now we’ll want to add a section with the appropriate variables for what happens when we check:

Again, I’ve added arbitrary test values and have highlighted the EV equation used for you to cross-reference. Now we’re going to put this spreadsheet to use to study situations where we might want to check to induce river bluffs instead of betting ourselves.

How Does Each Variable Affect the Whole

One way to study these situations is to see what effects changing a single variable will have on the entire situation. From our arbitrary values, what if we change our equity when we bet and are called from 60 percent to 55 percent. It’s not hard to figure out that this will lower the EV of betting, and in turn, this will make it more likely for checking to be the correct play.

After we check, if our equity when it checks through or our equity when it goes check-call increases, then that will obviously increase the EV of checking the river as a whole. However, each of these equities will contribute to the total EV of checking differently based on how often Villain checks and how often Villain bets. Along similar lines, it will also be affected by the fact that the pot is bigger when it goes check-call as opposed to when it goes check-bet, so we can see that the scenario where we actually get our opponent to bet on the river is going to be weighted more heavily. This is even moreso the case if we can get him to bet more often than he would have called if we had bet ourselves.

Putting in Specific Scenarios

Your homework for this week’s column is the following. Find a situation in your own play where you have had the option to shove the river or check against a single opponent. Decide on your opponent’s ranges at this point in the hand, and fill in the percentages in the spreadsheet accordingly. Use the spreadsheet to decide if you should have checked or if you should have bet.

APE is a free program that helps you to calculate M and Q values for players in poker tournaments.

What is APE?

APE calculates the M and Q of all the players at your table in a poker tournament.

APE does not automatically scrape the chip stacks from the table as you play -- you have to enter the stack sizes manually. Therefore, APE is best suited to post-tournament analysis. Use it when you want a quick and easy display of the M and Q of each player at the table at a specific point in a tournament.

Note: APE can be used to calculate M and Q in both MTT and SNG tournaments.

How to use APE.

1. Select the numbers of players at your table.
2. Enter either the initial number of chips each player started with (this is the easiest), or the total number of chips in use in the tournament.
3. Enter the total number of tournament entrants and the number of players left in the tournament (this will be the same as the number of seats/player if you're at the final table of an MTT or playing in an STT).
4. Enter the current size of the big blind, small blind and ante (leave it blank or put '0' if there is no ante).
5. Enter the stack sizes for each player at the table.
6. Click 'Go' and let APE do it's magic.

Why use the APE M and Q tournament calculator?

Knowing the M and Q for you and your opponents is useful for helping to decide how you should play your hand in the middle of a poker tournament.

However, when you're reviewing and analysing hands you have played from a previous tournament, it's not much fun fiddling around with a calculator to work out the M and Q numbers for each player at the table. Furthermore, it's even trickier to round up all those M and Q numbers and have them at hand for quick reference.

APE takes the hassle out of M and Q calculations by working them out for each player for you. It also displays the M zone colours as outlined in the famous tournament poker book -- Harrington on Hold'em.

How does APE work?

APE works from the basic formulas used for working out M and Q in poker tournaments.

• M = stack size / (big blind + small blind + ante)
• Q = stack size / average stack size

The maths is simple. APE just makes it easier to work out and display M and Q numbers for multiple tournament players at a time.

APE program features.

• Works out M.
• Works out Q.
• Works for both MTTs and SNGs.
• Displays corresponding M zone colours for each player.

Why is it called 'APE'?

Brace yourself:

M Calculator > M-ulator > Emulate >>>> Ape

Yeah… pretty rough. It does fit in nicely with the simian theme for tournament tools though (see CHIMP), so we'll stick with it.

Buy Iain a beer.

If the APE M and Q tournament calculator makes your tournament poker life easier, make Iain's life more fun by donating towards his beer fund. \$2 should cover a shandy, and \$3.50 should just about cover a pint. Anything you can send Iain's way though is hugely appreciated.

Cheers!

Poker Tournament Formula Spreadsheet Online

Go back to the Texas Hold'em software.