Poker is, at its core, a mathematical game. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius, but being able to quickly calculate percentages in your head will help you a lot.
You can almost certainly calculate the probability of any outcome with a given poker hand in a short period of time if you are a pure mathematical genius. When it comes to mortals, we all need a little help from time to time. There is no shame in requiring assistance; that is exactly why we are here.
On this page, you will find a variety of strategies, some written by the team behind paidpoker.co.uk, and others written by our loyal users. Some of them have a few years of experience, but the math remains the same no matter how the game changes in other ways.
After All, Wasn’t Poker All About Chance?
The game of poker is about many things, but one of them is not luck. Many things can happen at a poker table that appear to be wildly unlucky or unlucky at the time, but in the long run, they are simply an expression of the “short end” of probability arithmetic.
Consider the Following Real-world Example:
This writer had previously sat in a local poker club and participated in a tournament that had, up to this point, exceeded all of the writer’s expectations. I’ve been reassigned to a different table, where I’ll be seated with two ladies. I bet first and am joined by three other players on the flop, which appears to be innocuous at first glance: 4, 5, and 9 in various colors.
When I place another bet, the next player raises his hand. While I have a sneaking suspicion that he has hit two or three pairs that are identical, I decide to call after some thought. I decide to go all-in on the hand because there will be another 5 on the turn and I am confident that he will not hit the 5 on the turn. When he saw the ladies, he smiled and called without hesitation, tossing a couple of 6s on the table while his hands were in his pockets.
I don’t think it’s necessary to mention that the river had a 6.
When something like this happens, you’re bound to be irritated because it feels so unfortunate and unfair. There are two cards remaining in the deck that could save him. According to a rule of thumb, which you can learn more about in the articles to the right, he has a slightly better than 4% chance of winning, but even if the opponent plays the hand horribly, it also means that if you play the hand 100 times, he wins the 4. Unfortunately, we don’t even have complete control over when the various outcomes occur.
Is This the Only Situation in Poker Where You Can Use Mathematics?
No! It’s meant to show how even the most unlucky hands are simply the result of unavoidable mathematical fluctuations. However, it also implies that if you understand poker mathematics, you can control your own “luck” to a large extent, even if there are some factors out of your control at the end of the game.
Much more information on the various types of poker mathematics can be found in the articles to the right. You can learn about concepts like outs, pot odds, and implied odds, which will help you make the best decision when playing poker. You can also learn about bankroll management, which will help you choose the best games.
If you’re a math nerd, you might be interested in reading an article that delves deeper into how the random number generators that power all online poker games work.
Finally, some of our users have provided a variety of tools for keeping track of your poker results on our website, so you can learn about poker trackers and how to interpret the numbers they provide.
I wish you the best of luck in your game!