Getting even-odds on your money might be a great bet on the casino floor or in a sportsbook, but in the game of poker even-odds are not a situation to be getting your money in with very often. In a game where playing with patience can often produce a situation where you are favored by 80% or more to win the hand, putting your chips in the middle on a coin flip too often will not make for winning poker.
The most common situation where you are getting near to even-odds in a hand of poker is when you find yourself head-to-head against a player where one of you is holding two over cards to the other player’s pocket pair. A higher and lower card against two middle cards is almost even-odds as well, with a slight edge of 5% going to the higher and lower card hand.
Choosing to play in an even-odds situation should be determined by a couple of factors. First off, stack size should come into play when deciding if you want to gamble with even-odds. If you have a bigger stack than an opponent then it makes more sense to play in an even-odd situation. If your tournament life is on the line against a bigger stack, then even-odds are not the place to make your move.
When blind levels are elevated and your stack has diminished to the point that you need to make a move or run the risk of blinding out, getting your chips in against even-odds is a favorable situation. Taking a chance when your back’s up against a wall against even-odds is better than blinding out of the tournament waiting for a more favorable situation.
Take the time to choose your even-odd decisions based on more than just the fact that you like to gamble. If losing a coin flop won’t hurt your situation in the tournament, then go for it if it feels right to you. If you don’t choose your coin-flip battles wisely, the win/loss variance of the game will eventually catch up with you, and your tournament will be over before it should be.