The game of poker is clearly a game of skill, psychology and,of course, some luck.
Luck actually plays a very important part in building the poker economy! asking yourself why? well it’s actually pretty simple! if bad hands always lost poker would feel much more like a chess game (boring!) and less losing players would stick around. We love having fish in poker games so we have to let them win sometimes. Fortunately we have lady luck to handle the winning and losing for us and we just need to make sure that we make the correct, or +ev decisions, along the way.
A big part of being a successful long-term poker player is being able to use poker math and poker probability to determine if your actions produce profitable outcomes in the long run. When we mention poker probability what we mean is the probability of a given situation happening, like getting that 3rd Ace when you already have two in your hand.
The Basics of Poker Math
The starting point for calculating poker probability is the amount of cards in a deck – 52 Cards in 4 suits: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.
When you divide 52 by 4 you get 13, which is the amount of cards in each suit. If you’re looking to complete a flush, for example, you should know that only 9 cards remain in the deck that match the suit you’re looking for. Why are there only 9? because we started with 13, 2 are in your hand and 2 are on the table so 13-4 = 9.
When you approach these calculations always remember to divide how many cards are left that you need by the total amount of cards still left in the deck.
Poker Math Example
Lets say I was dealt AcKc, i’m sitting thrilled in my chair, and I start to think of the likelihood of flopping a flush, so I start:
Deck has 52 cards, i took 2 out so we’re left with 50
There are 13 Clubs, I took 2 out so we’re left with 11
I run the calculation in my head and reach a probability of 1/119 for flopping my pretty flush.
What did I just do?
Its simple! i multiplied the odds per each card in the flop according to the same kind of thinking that I told you in the beginning, and my equation comes out looking like this: (11/50) * (10/49) * (9/48)
Advanced Poker Math
It is very common for beginners to put too much value in specific hands, for example getting low suited cards and aiming for a backdoor flush after hitting a pair. Not only is landing that final card on the river extremely unlikely, and so more often than not a losing bet, but you will also have the extremely unfortunate opportunity to lose to better hands fairly often when the cards you thought you wanted actually does land on the table and you put all your money in.
The path to poker wisdom is long, but the knowledge you need has been summarized for you in the most easily digestible way possible so getting started on your road to mastery should be as easy as reading the articles below.
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