Poker Dog Definition

by Jesse Knight


Poker Underdog
Underdog - A person or hand which is not favored to win.

When you get involved in a hand against another player, you will usually be either a favorite to win the hand or else you will be an underdog. If you are a favorite, it means that you will win the hand more than 50% of the time. If you are an underdog, it means that you will win the hand less than half the time. It is important to note that this can have very little to do with whether or not you should continue on in the hand when you are facing a bet, as will be explained later. Occasionally, you will be in a situation where neither you nor your opponent is a dog because you will both win roughly half the time. This is called “racing,” or “being in a race” with your opponent.

It just so happens, that in a Hold’em game, a matchup of a pair versus two over cards is considered a race, because the two hands are generally a percentage point or two apart. In reality, the pair is a small favorite, but for most decision making situations it will suffice to consider this as a race, with neither player receiving a statistical advantage over the other.

There are many strategic implications you must consider when you are in a situation where a race is likely to occur. This is especially true for tournament play. In a tournament, you are eliminated when you lose all of your chips. That makes tournaments an exercise in risk management. If you take too much risk over the course of the tournament, you will generally be eliminated. Racing is a high risk proposition, since you will be eliminated roughly half the time you are involved in as race. This means that, for the most part, you should avoid racing in tournaments. However, you also have to realize that in a poker tournament, you are under constant pressure to build your stack. If you are short stacked and are getting beaten up and whittled down by the cost of the blinds, at some point a race can be just what the doctor ordered. It is certainly much preferred to blinding off.

Whether or not you are an underdog is not the main factor you need to consider when you are deciding whether or not to put money into the pot. In fact, in a multi-way action pot, it is not uncommon for nobody to be a statistical favorite to win the hand. If you are a favorite you should always play, and you should try to get as much action as possible, but there are many times when you should also continue on in the hand even if you are an underdog. What matters more than your underdog status are your pot odds and your implied odds. If there is a substantial amount of money in the pot already, it can be very profitable to draw as an underdog, depending upon how big of a dog you are.

When you are an underdog and you win the hand it is called drawing out, or sucking out on your opponent. If you are really big underdog, and you suck out anyway, it is referred to as a bad beat. Someone who is constantly administering bad beats is called a bad beat artist. This is not a compliment, and if you are a bad beat artist, it is usually not an indicator that you are a very strong player, though some strong players may be perceived as bad beat artists by their opponents. The reason that being a bad beat artist does not indicate strong play is that it implies that you are coming from behind all of the time, and frequently win on long shot draws. Really good players spend much of their time in the lead, and avoid situations where they are a big underdog in the first place. This is why great players are rarely considered bad beat artists, and if they are, it is usually because of their table image.

Usage: Had An Underdog Preflop, Ace Rag Is A Dog

The term underdog is sometimes simplified to "dog."

Previous Poker Term: Under the Gun
Next Poker Term: Value


Popular Articles:
Online Poker Tells
Poker Expectation
Playing Pocket Pairs
Basic Loose Aggressive LAG Poker Strategy
Basic Tight Aggressive TAG Poker Strategy
Sit N Go Strategy - Part 1: Early Stages
Sit and Go Tournaments - Part 2: Middle Stages
Single Table Tournament Strategy - Part 3 End Game



(c) Shirley Rosario

More Poker Tips

Poker Vacations

Poker Journal

Steve Badger