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Calculating Win-Rate in Cash Games

How to Calculate Win Rate in NL Texas Holdem

Once you become a winning player you to need to be able to calculate your profits.  This is so you can compare your win-rate with others and it also helps you know when it’s time to move up the stakes (or down).

A lot of players in online poker also don’t realise how much they’re losing or winning so it’s important now and again to check the results.

How  to Calculating Profits

The most common approach is the bb/hr or bb/100 measure.  This is what forums all use and it means the average the number of big blinds you win per 100 hands (or every hour). 

For example if I’m making $5/hr at $0.5/$1 cash tables it means I’m earning 5bb/hr.  To convert this to bb/100 you need to work out how many hands you play per hr.  If you play 50 hands per hour this equals 10bb/100.

The reason we use big blinds to calculate success is because it’s the best way to measure success at your stakes.  It says much more about the type and style of player you are by measuring the relative number of big blinds you win rather than “general” profit.  For example I could suck at NL200 and earn 1BB/hr making me $2, however a solid NL25 player could be making 10bb’s/hr which is only $2.50.  Thus, while absolute profit is a nice thing to show off to friends realistically the bb/hr or bb/100 is much more important.

Another reason we use bb/hr to calculate win-rate is because normally we’re not in poker to show-off to our friends.  Using bb/hr provides a universal formula for all stakes and players. 

What is a Good Win-Rate?

 Over 4bb/100 is considered a pretty good win-rate.  Anything above 4bb/100 is exceptionally good and you should be prepared to move up the stakes if this is the case.  I’ve never seen anyone win above 10bb/100 in a single table.  Remember, over 85% of players lose money in online poker and only 5% actually make profit, so if you’re in the 95th percentile of players who actually make money you should be happy regardless of the money you make!

When multi-tabling you should see your bb/100 decrease on each table.  This is because the more tables you add the tighter and less hands you can afford to play on each table– this reduces your bb/100.  However, when you’re playing multiple tables your bb/hr actually increases (even as your bb/100 reduces). 

Example: Imagine we’re playing 1 table of $0.50/$1 and earning a solid 5bb/100.  This equates to 5bb/hr if we’re playing 100 hands per hour.

Now, let’s say someone else is playing 4 tables of $0.50/$1 and is only earning 3bb/100.  They’re obviously earning less profit per 100 hands, however because they’re playing 4 tables they’ll make 4x 3bb/hr = 12bb/hr.  In conclusion this player makes 7bbs more per hour even though his bb/100 rate has dropped.

Lastly, when you move up stakes you’re win-rate will naturally decrease because of the added-difficulty.  I win far more bb/100 at Nl25 than NL100 for example – although I’ll still be making more profit overall at NL100.

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