A game of Mathematics

poker mathematics

For some players poker is a game of psychology, but for all poker players it is a game of mathematics. Usually losing players complain about their bad luck, believe their opponents have excellent reading skills against them and eventually end up believing that poker is rigged and give up. Winning players in the meantime, know that they keep on making money because they have extensive knowledge of the poker theory. And that theory includes plenty of mathematics.

New players begin playing poker with neither reading a book nor understanding basic concepts of winning poker. The game appears easy; two hole cards and five cards on the felt. How difficult can it be? Sure, if you want to have fun playing poker, the rules of the game are pretty straightforward. But in order to master the game of poker, the first step is to fully comprehend terms like expected value, pot and implied odds and pot equity.

These basic elements of poker theory are explained and discussed in the presentation below, based on a single poker hand, that is used as an example. Although the hand comes from a tournament game, the mathematics applies to cash games just the same. Obviously the goal is the viewer to quickly understand the meaning of the terms and have a head start learning how to play poker successfully and not overemphasize.

The game’s concepts that are presented here vary from simple to advanced such as reverse implied odds. While almost every newcomer to the poker world will easily grasp the meaning of expected value or pot odds, implied and reverse implied odds often seem quite complicated.

Don’t be afraid to watch the presentation more than once or perhaps bookmark and revisit this post, when you feel confused at the poker tables. Hopefully it won’t take more than a minute to remind yourself how much your drawing hand actually cost you when you called that big bet!

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