Ranking starting hand strengths comparatively from 1 to 7462, then, is an exercise that not only is incredibly complex, but may very well
There must be some way, however, to approach the task. Obviously not every hand can have the same expected value. Let's take a
look at Open Face Odds' classification system, then, and see if it at least can help us identify some promising starting hands -- and some
Keeping in mind that the vast majority of starting hands are split into different rows,
the following are the major category types the first five cards, as a set, can be classified into: Cooperators, Cannibals, Verticals,
Disparates, and Hybrids. Here is a more detailed description of each category with examples. To simplify the scenarios, each situation
will be assumed to be heads up, out of position, with 47 cards left in the deck.
Cooperators are cards that can be grouped in separate draw ranges across two or possibly three rows.
The following is one possible setting of the above starting hand that meets this criterion:
From the total array of unknown cards the back row will be drawing from, improvement will come primarily from the set
of cards that makes a
full house - the remaining queens and fours: [QQ444]
Meanwhile, the middle will be improving primarily from the set of cards that will make a pair, two pair, trips,
or possibly a straight.
This row's primary drawing range, then, is considered to be all remaining fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, tens and Jacks:
[5555 6666 777 8888 999 10101010 JJJ]
Notice that the primary draw ranges for each row do not merge. Inside the array of total unknown cards (below),
each draw has its own discrete set of cards partitioned from the other, like oil from water. Hence the cards that make up this starting five are called
They simultaneously add value to both middle and back row draws,
yet since they reduce the
number of pure outs for each row, we will downgrade this starting
five from full
cooperators to semi-cooperators. The sets of cards that constitute each draw range are still large enough and
distinct enough from each other, however, to still be considered cooperating ranges, as seen in the total array of unknown cards:
When the draw merge represents a zero or minute percentage of each separate draw's total range, the first five cards will be classified as
"Cooperators". The example directly above shows the subcategory of semi-cooperation, while the first two examples show full cooperation.
When the draw merge trends upwards towards a majority of one or both draws, the five cards will be classified as "Cannibals".