Expected Value - EV

by Jesse Knight


Poker EV Expectation
Expectation -
1. The return you can expect to receive over the long run, based upon the probabilities of the various outcomes.
2. The amount you expect to make at the poker table per hour.

Expectation (also called “expected value” or “EV”), is your long run expected return on investment. It can be positive or negative, and it is affected both by your actions and the actions of your opponent. The goal of every poker player is to maximize expectation. In other words, each player wishes to act in such a way as to maximize their long term return. This is called “maximizing expectation,” or “maximizing EV.”

You maximize your expectation by choosing the betting option that is statistically likely to yield the best return over the long run. If several betting options are likely to yield profitable outcomes, you maximize expectation by choosing the action likely yield the most profit in the long run. If expectation is negative, you maximize EV by choosing the betting option that will yield the smallest loss in the long run.

Having a firm grip on the concept of expectation, and how to calculate it, is critical to becoming a winning player. It is an essential component of pot odds calculations. Simply put, a calculation of expectation is the tool which allows you to compare the risk/reward relationship between different betting options in a poker game, so that you can select the one that will be most profitable in the long run.

See also Variance.

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