ArticleHow to understand equity realization (EQR)?

Equity realisation determines your hand’s potential. By recognizing good or bad EQR conditions, you can maximize your earnings and enhance your gameplay.

By Doro | 16 Aug 2023
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If you’re a poker player, you’ve probably heard the term equity mentioned quite a few times. Equity is essential in poker since it is a crucial concept to understand for winning. But what exactly is equity realization in poker, and how does it affect your strategy? Let’s dive deeper into the topic and find out.

What is equity (EQ) in poker?

Equity of your hand plays a crucial role in guiding your decision-making process. It represents the statistical probability of your hand winning against your opponent’s range of possible hands if both players were to reveal their cards and reach a showdown.

Skilled players regularly estimate equity at every stage of a hand in poker. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t an infallible measure. Additionally, players often overemphasize the importance of equity and overlook Expected Value (EV), which is actually the most crucial indicator.

What will equity not tell us about?

Equity is a static measure. It doesn’t consider what might occur in the next phase of the hand. Another limitation of equity is that it doesn’t factor in the possibility of us or our opponents folding at any point in the game.

It’s important to understand the typical conclusion of a poker hand. Usually, someone places a bet, another player folds, and the hand concludes. If a fold happens at any point, equity becomes irrelevant. The player who folds ends up with 0% equity, and the winner takes 100% equity, which means they win the entire pot. This means that equity is not only a static value (omits future actions), but also a hypothetical one (if we were to reveal the cards and proceed to showdown).

What you need to know about equity realization?

Equity realization is the projected percentage of the pot a hand anticipates winning, taking into account its equity and the numerous postflop variables in play.

There’s a significant difference between a hand’s equity and how well that hand will perform if you continue in the pot. Let’s look at a example.

We defended the Big Blind (BB) with K8o. The flop came out as 772. After our check, the opponent played a continuation bet (C-bet). Despite our hand having a substantial equity of 46%, we were compelled to fold. If the opponent bet with 53s, they did so with an equity of just 28% and we folded a way better hand.

What insights can we derive from this scenario:

  • We’ve firsthand encountered the practical use of EQR. With a hand like K8o, our equity fluctuates between 42% and 47%. However, when an opponent places a bet, it becomes difficult to fully realize this equity. In fact, we were unable to utilize any of it, as technically we should have folded every time.
  • At the same time, the player holding a 53s can realize more than 180% of their equity due to the bet!
  • The aforementioned demonstrates how EV, which is of utmost importance, and EQR hold greater significance than EQ itself.
  • It’s important to highlight that, in the scenario we encounter here, each hand within the BTN player’s range reaps the benefits of the entire range’s vast equity advantage (58% vs 42%).
  • Equity realization is influenced by various factors such as range equity comparison, stack sizes, position, and it’s about how often you can actually accrue your rightful share of the pot.
Assesing equity realisation begins with the range comparision.
Click to enlarge
EQR realizationFavorable conditionsUnfavorable conditions
Equity advantageHighNone
Polarisation advantageHighNone
Position advantageIPOOP
Skill advantageHighNone
Stack sizesDeepShallow


Now that you understand what equity is, how it can or cannot be realized, and the different conditions that constitute good or bad equity realization, you are better equipped to make more informed decisions during the game. By applying the above information, you can expect to see improvements in your game and greater success at the table.

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