Why You Should Avoid Coin Flips in Tournaments

Why You Should Avoid Coin Flips in Tournaments

This article will look at what coin flip situations are and why you should avoid them in poker tournaments. This article focuses on no limit hold‘em, but the principles can be applied to other forms of poker.

Before we discuss the reasons why you most likely want to avoid coin flip situations in a tournament this article will first look at what a coin flip situation is.

To put it simply a coin flip situation is one were the outcome of the hands preflop is basically a coin flip. That is that both your hand and your opponents hand are roughly 50/50 to win the pot preflop. For the purposes of this article we will assume that all coin flip situations are in a heads up pot and that the coin flip situation is in an all in situation.

So what hands are  coin flip situations you might ask? Coin flips occur whenever a small pair takes on 2 over cards. For example if you go all in with AK and your opponent calls with 66 then the outcome is a coin flip. This even occurs if the over cards are small, for example 89, which is still a 50/50 scenario against 66. If however you had A4 against 66 this is not a coin flip situation as you only have 1 over card to the pair. The classic coin flip situation is when you go all in with AK and your opponent has QQ.

It should be noted that when we talk about coin flip situations the hands are not exactly 50/50. The odds are approximately 50/50. In fact holding a pair against over cards you are roughly a 6:5 favourite to win the hand. It is deemed as a coin flip however as an edge of 2% is not a big enough edge to matter.

So why should  you avoid coin flips in tournament situations you might be asking? Well the answer is simple, you should be aiming for a bigger edge somewhere else if you feel that you are better then your opponents. Why would you want to risk your tournament life on a coin flip, you would be giving up any edge you may have had.

You now need luck and not skill to continue on in the tournament. That is why going all in or calling an all in bet when you know you only going to be in a 50/50 scenario doesn’t make sense. You should be waiting for a bigger edge before you go all in. why not wait until you have you have a big pocket pair before you call, or why not wait until you can bet on the flop with top pair or a set  and be a much bigger favourite.

While  you will have to win coin flips to win a tournament, why try to win some when you do not have to. If you have the chips it’s better to wait for a better spot were  you can be a 2:1 favourite or better.

That being said if you are low on chips then you might be forced to go all in with 22 preflop and know that if you get called you will be 50/50. Also, if you have a large stack it might be worth risking a 50/50 scenario to eliminate a small stack. However in general I recommend trying to avoid coin flips as much as possible.

I hope after reading this article  you better understand what a coin flip situation is and the reasons why to avoid one of them in a tournament and that you can adapt this into your everyday poker play.