The Approach To Learn Poker Math

Beyond the skill and the luck that are often associated with the best gamblers, it is vital to learn poker math to be truly great at the game. It is often easy to do so and not as complicated as one would think.

Statistics and probability are the two most important mathematical skills that relate to playing poker. General things that are good to know are the probabilities of drawing certain hands and, more importantly, the chances of winning with them. Pot odds and bad beats are other important aspects of the game that come down to simple mathematics. With poker, there are a few basic facts that are important starting grounds: there are 52 cards in a deck that consist of four suits (hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades) and thirteen ranks (the Ace, numbers 2 to 10, Jack, Queen, and King). This means that the probability of drawing a given suit is 1 in 4 (25%) and the chances of drawing a given ranking are 1 in 13 (7.7%). Once a card from a ranking is drawn, such as the Jack of Spades, the probability of drawing another Jack are decreased from 4 in 52 (7.7%) to 3 in 51 (5.9%) as the number of Jacks in the deck decreases.

In order to determine the probability of being dealt a certain set of cards, multiply the chances of getting each individual card together. For example, the odds of being dealt two Jacks is equal to 4/52 x 3/51, which is 1/221, or around 0.45%. This means that on average, for every 221 hands that are dealt, 1 of them will have a pair of Jacks in it. Since there are thirteen possible pairs in a standard deck, the chance of being dealt any pair is 13/221, which is the same as 1/17, or around 5.9% of the time. These basic operations can be applied to any situation to determine the chances of winning a hand, of a hand improving after a flop, or, by extension, of losing after a flop.

Pot odds and bad beats are two important poker-specific facts that should be taken into account. Pot odds are a comparison of the size of the pot and the size of the next bet. For example, if there is a pot of $90 and a player is required to bet $10 to continue the game, their pot odds are 90 to 10 (or 9 to 1, or 10%) because the new pot has $100 in it, $10 of which was contributed by that player. More experienced players compare the pot odds to the chances that their hand will improve and use the comparison to decide whether or not to fold. A bad beat is an event that occurs when a player completes a hand that initially was unlikely to be a successful one. Mathematics show that however unlikely bad beats seem, they still do occur, and are possible. The purpose of probability in poker, and the main reason to learn poker math, is to help players make decisions, and to understand that a lot of the game truly does come down to luck.