Understanding Expected Value (EV)
To help you understand Expected Value, imagine rolling a six-sided die. Now, someone asks you if you would accept two-to-one odds that the number will be 4 or higher? The answer would be “OF COURSE!”. This would be a positive expected value strategy (+EV strategy) because the odds of the die being 4 or higher are 50-50, whereas the payoff they are offering is better than 1:1 (it is 2:1). This means that, even though you will lose approximately HALF the time, you will end up ahead AS LONG AS you always take this bet. Deviating from this strategy, even just once, would be a mistake, as it is not the most positive EV strategy.
If the situation changed so that you only get 2:1 odds of the die being a 5 or higher, then this would no longer be a +EV strategy. This is because the payoff odds exactly reflect the statistical likelihood of the likely outcome.
Clearly then, players who take +EV actions in poker will necessarily win more than players who don’t. This ‘win more’ outcome will be reflected in a gain in Rating Points (RP). So, if you’re looking to improve your RP, the question is: how do you play poker in a way that maximises expected value (EV)?
In poker, often there are far too many variables for a player to always know what the most-positive EV play is, but our article, 10 Tips to Win Rating Points Faster, gives a list of ten Positive EV strategies that are easy to introduce into your play. These will help you play better and ensure you gain rating points at a faster rate.