In the world of poker, free is a beautiful thing. We like free, because free means more money to indulge in the things that cost money. If you’re looking for a way to get an edge on your competition, you have to embrace free. There’s just no other way around it. So if you’re sitting here with your nose in the air because we mentioned free…sorry about that. This probably isn’t the article for you.

For everyone else that’s looking to sharpen their skills without chipping away at their wallet, might we introduce PokerStove to you?

In short, this is a free online poker equity calculator. You need one of these tools for one big reason: you need to know what percentage chance your hand has of winning against another hand. Poker is about winning, but that doesn’t mean that we win in a vacuum. We win when we have the best resources possible to make even better decisions. That’s really what it’s all about here. PokerStove isn’t going to think for you, but you can use the data you receive within PS to make better decisions on the table.

If you’re taking notes about hands that catch your eye, PokerStove will fit in with this perfectly. There’s always moments we have as poker players where we wonder — did I really play that hand right? If you knew your odds for winning were higher, would that have an effect on how you raise and bet? Of course it does.

Poker Equity Calculator

The classic example is AA vs. KK.

If you have AA before the flop and your opponent has KK, you have to figure out what your most profitable options are based on the odds. Your opponent is most likely going to go all in. That could scare you off, or it could make you feel empowered.

You can plug in both AA and KK into PokerStove and find out that 8 times out of 10, AA will beat KK. Now then, as an aside — those 2 times might mean that you’re out a lot of money. This is where you have to believe in odds, rather than getting caught up in the way poker “should” be. There are a lot of things in life that “should” be one way or another, but they really aren’t. There are just times in poker where you’re not going to win. You’ll have to embrace that too in order to become an even better poker player.

Yet the fun with PokerStove doesn’t stop there. You can have AA vs. KK, but you can have it as AA vs. KK, QQ, JJ, or any top pair. Flush draws and straight draws aren’t a problem either. If you’re feeling lost, make sure that you download the program and try it out for yourself.

Ranges rock, and we would argue this is where the brilliance of PokerStove comes in. You can look at ranges, and figure out when you should be making certain calls. It’s not perfect, but it should be considered a valuable tool. You need to think about equity if you’re going to make good money with poker. There’s no way around it. You cannot just play off your gut all of the time. This is where players end up getting themselves into trouble.

Studying the data is something that a lot of players hate doing. But if you look at the professionals, you’ll find that all they really do is study. They want to make sure that they’re doing what works — not just what people say will work. That’s going to get you into trouble, while everything else is liable to set you apart from the crowd. Keeping this in mind is what’s going to make you a much better player with time. And as you already know, long term poker is truly the best poker!

By Tommy