While millions of people across the world tend to avoid studying math, poker players cannot afford to take an aversion to math. The best poker players in the world would generally agree that a better understanding of poker math has helped them big time in being consistent at winning and getting them to where they are right now.
As an aspiring poker player, you may think of poker math as some complex formula or those algebraic expressions you used to dread way back in high school. But the reality is, it isn’t that complicated. In fact, the math involved in poker is simple. And if you just take the time to learn the math and probabilities surrounding the game, you will be able to make better and effective decisions at the table.
Determining Probabilities
If you look closely, there are certain details already outlined in the game of poker from which a certain formula is built. For example, the deck consists of a total of 52 cards – 13 hearts, 13 diamonds, 13 spades and 13 clubs. Ace has the highest rank, followed by the king, queen, and so on, with the lowest being two. There are four cards for each rank.
So, if you try to analyze the givens, there’s a statistical probability involved in every hand in the game. Let’s take Texas Hold’em as an example. At the beginning of the game, if you are dealt a pair of sixes, you can actually determine what your chances are of having a third six on the flop.
While the numbers involved in calculating the probabilities may be quite complex for beginners and the average poker player to understand, the conclusion is that you have an 11.5% chance of hitting a three of a kind on the flop whenever you’re dealt a pocket pair.
There is a simple alternative to arrive at a similar conclusion. If the deck has 52 cards and you have two sixes, it means there are only two sixes left in the remaining 50 cards. What you need to do is to initially divide two by 50. After that, you divide two by 49, and then divide it by 48. If you add the results, you’ll have around 12% or close to the 11.5% calculated above.
If you know how to compute probabilities, you will be able to refine your decisions.  By checking if the numbers add up, you can tell whether certain plays are correct.
Pot Odds
Another important benefit of understanding poker math is having the ability to calculate pot odds. You will know whether or not you need to stay in the game when the other players bet before you. You can determine the percentage of the pot you need to invest by how often you need to call. Pot odds refer to the percentage of the next bet in relation to the pot size.
For example, if the total pot is $90 and the player needs to make a $10 call to stay in the game, he or she gets $90 to $10 (9 to 1) pot odds. If the player calls, the new pot becomes $100 and his $10 bet accounts for 10% of the new pot.
So if you’re in the big blind for $2 and a player raises it to $5, you need to add $3 more to call. Since majority of the poker rooms allow a maximum of 10 players at the table, let’s say the other players call the $5, and when it comes to you, the new pot will be $42.  The total pot is determined by adding up eight bets each of $5 = $40, plus your initial $2.
If you make a good call, you can win that $42, and there’s an 11.5% chance that you can get that third six. If the cards favor you, you can collect 14 times what you are risking in putting the additional $3 investment.
Poker math is helpful in determining whether a call will be profitable or not.
Adjusting Strategies
The benefits do not end there. There also other aspects of the game wherein you can apply basic calculations and once you gain working knowledge of how to go about it, you can adjust your strategies during the game, you can predict potential results, and you’ll end up becoming a more intelligent poker player.
Remember that in poker, everything begins and ends with math. So don’t be afraid of crunching the numbers. It will help you in the long run!

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