Everyone hates it, but it’s a fact of modern poker life that you need to have a solid understanding of the math behind the game if you want to be a winning player. Modern poker isn’t about looking someone in the eyes and trying to work out if they have it, it’s about crunching the numbers and making profitable decisions as often as you can.
However, poker math isn’t as scary as it looks, and once you understand it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t look at it sooner! We’re here to take you through the deep dark world of poker math and shine a light on the topics that new players daren’t go near - and by the end of it, you’ll have all the tools you need to confidently use this math on the felt to crush your opponents.
Poker math is the underlying mathematical aspect of poker. It includes concepts such as probabilities, combinatorics, odds, EV, and many more that we’ll cover throughout the series. These concepts allow you to understand what’s really happening in the game, giving you an insight into the profitability of certain actions, what’s likely to happen next, and even narrow down which hands your opponents are holding.
While knowledge of these concepts isn’t necessary to play poker, they unlock a deeper understanding of the game, allowing you to use strategies that are more effective.
In short, if you want to be a profitable player, you need to be using poker math! The game has come a long way over the past couple of decades, and it’s now vitally important to use poker math if you want to be a winning player at almost any stake level. Even the lowest stakes are full of players who understand at least the basic aspects of poker math, so if you’re going in blind, you’ll quickly find yourself outclassed.
By understanding the underlying math of poker, you’ll quickly find that the game is somewhat demystified. When you first come across the game, it looks like everyone’s throwing their money in randomly, and the person who gets the luckiest is the winner. However, as you understand the math behind the game, you quickly understand why players make the decisions they do.
It’s easy to attribute a player hitting a flush on the river to win a big pot as someone who just got lucky, but if you know how to calculate the odds of making that flush and use it to determine whether or not their turn call was profitable, then suddenly it doesn’t seem so lucky.
When you start to comprehend poker math, you’re able to use it to make better, more precise decisions at the table. Rather than guessing at whether or not a bet is profitable, you can use poker math to break down the components of the bet and determine mathematically whether or not it’s profitable in the long run. Instead of being clueless about what your opponent holds, you can use combinatorics to narrow down your opponent’s range and eliminate hands entirely, making it easier to make your decision.
If you understand poker math, you transcend the traditional understanding of the game, and start to see things on a different plane.
In this poker math series, we’ll be covering a number of aspects of poker math, starting with the most basic concepts and working our way up to the advanced concepts. In each part, we’ll fully explain each concept, provide examples of it in action, and give you the chance to try it out for yourself to ensure that you have a firm grasp of what we’re teaching you.
By the end of this series, you’ll have a strong understanding of the various aspects of poker math, how they work, and how to use them effectively at the tables. So, if you want to use poker math to gain an edge on your opponents at the table, make sure you catch each new article as we release it.
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