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UltimateBet

The Bill Chen Formula
(from Hold'em Excellence)

The formula below was developed by Bill Chen, winner of 2 WSOP bracelets (http://www.billchenpoker.com). He basically developed a mathematical formula to determine if a hand is playable based on giving the cards certain values. For the most part, the formula works extremely well and we actually use it in our Starting Hand Quiz.

Determine your highest card and score as follows: (only use your lower card for gap and suited analysis)
  • Ace = 10 points
  • King = 8 points
  • Queen = 7 points
  • Jack = 6 points
  • 10 through 2 = half of face value (i.e. 10 = 5, 9 = 4.5)
  • Pairs, multiply score by 2 (i.e. KK = 16), minimum score for a pair is 5 (so pairs of 2 through 4 get a 5 score)
  • Suited cards, add two points to highest card score
  • Connectors add 1 point (i.e. KQ)
  • One gap, subtract 1 point (i.e. T8)
  • Two gap, subtract 2 points (i.e. AJ)
  • Three gap, subtract 4 points (i.e. J7)
  • Four or more gap, subtract 5 points (i.e. A4)
Sample scores
AA = 20 points
98s = 7.5 points
K9s = 6 points

The information below is not strictly from the Chen formula as he believed the system only told you what to play, not when to come in for a raise. There are too many factors in determining when to raise, call or fold. The scores below can be used as a general rule of thumb.

Early Position
  • Raise = Score is 9 or higher
  • Call = Score is 8 or higher
  • Fold = Score is lower than 8
Middle Position
  • Raise = Score is 9 or higher
  • Call = Score is 7 or higher
  • Fold = Score is lower than 7
Late Position
  • Raise = Score is 9 or higher
  • Call = Score is 6 or higher
  • Fold = Score is lower than 6

For more information on Bill Chen visit his site at http://www.billchenpoker.com
Also read his excellent book The Mathmatics of Poker


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