PDA

View Full Version : Poker Math

GTSamIAm
08-23-2005, 01:53 AM
What math would you say is required to understand every facet of poker math? I can look up equity and chances of winning online, but I want to know how to do it and other things. How much probability and statistics should I take? Included in that, shouldn't I take combinatorics? Would intro classes really teach me everything I'd ever want to know? Sorry for all the questions.

AaronBrown
08-23-2005, 02:44 PM
Some basic probability logic is very useful. Combinatorics and statistics are handy for solving Poker problems, but you can learn what you need from calculations others have done.

It's important to really understand why you have half the chance of filling an inside straight draw as an open-ended straight draw, or why the number of outs is important. But you don't need advanced math for either of those things.

It's fun to calculate the probability of A2 beating a pair of 7's heads up in Hold'em, but for practical purposes you can look at statistics calculated by others to gauge the relative values of starting hands.

In my experience, people who are good at and enjoy doing math puzzles, ones that require only a little formal math but a lot of clear thinking, do better at the Poker table than great mathematicians. It's hard to be a good Poker player without any math sense, but the math you need is pretty basic.

spaminator101
08-23-2005, 04:47 PM
i agree with that i think that too many people today think that the most important skill in poker is math while i think it is really phycology as you get to more advanced games

Luzion
08-23-2005, 07:50 PM
[ QUOTE ]
What math would you say is required to understand every facet of poker math? I can look up equity and chances of winning online, but I want to know how to do it and other things. How much probability and statistics should I take? Included in that, shouldn't I take combinatorics? Would intro classes really teach me everything I'd ever want to know? Sorry for all the questions.

[/ QUOTE ]

Get a probability book. The first few chapters teach you plenty.

Luzion
08-23-2005, 07:56 PM
[ QUOTE ]
i agree with that i think that too many people today think that the most important skill in poker is math while i think it is really phycology as you get to more advanced games

[/ QUOTE ]

And why do you think "psychology" is the more important skill as you get to advanced games sir? Im not sure that makes much sense...

Nevermind, I just read some of your posts and it turns out you post a lot of crap that rarely makes much sense. No wonder your name is the Spaminator.

OrangeKing
08-23-2005, 08:14 PM
[ QUOTE ]
And why do you think "psychology" is the more important skill as you get to advanced games sir? Im not sure that makes much sense...

[/ QUOTE ]

A lot of people want to hold on to the romantic view of poker, with big moves and huge bluffs being the key to success.

Or even worse, I've met some people who clearly only believe that "learning" isn't as important as "feeling" the game only because learning would require effort they don't want to give. But if they can convince themselves that learning is useless anyway, then they don't have to feel bad about not putting in the effort!

Neither of these may be the case for the Spaminator, but I've met plenty of people who fit into one or both of these categories.

Luzion
08-23-2005, 08:25 PM
[ QUOTE ]
A lot of people want to hold on to the romantic view of poker, with big moves and huge bluffs being the key to success.

Or even worse, I've met some people who clearly only believe that "learning" isn't as important as "feeling" the game only because learning would require effort they don't want to give. But if they can convince themselves that learning is useless anyway, then they don't have to feel bad about not putting in the effort!

Neither of these may be the case for the Spaminator, but I've met plenty of people who fit into one or both of these categories.

[/ QUOTE ]

I know what he meant. I was just questioning him because I was starting to get really irritated at his moronic and ignorant posts. You should read some of his older posts to get an idea of what I mean.

spaminator101
08-23-2005, 08:52 PM
well the math that you use during actual gameplay is fairly easy while the phycology just kills some people in higher stakes there is much more phycolgical war fare going on

and by the way im not using this as an excuse to not learn the math because i do do the math

Luzion
08-23-2005, 09:30 PM
[ QUOTE ]
well the math that you use during actual gameplay is fairly easy while the phycology just kills some people in higher stakes there is much more phycolgical war fare going on

and by the way im not using this as an excuse to not learn the math because i do do the math

[/ QUOTE ]

What stakes do you play again?

BillC
08-23-2005, 09:38 PM
As far as technical skills go, you need little more than grade school math, to do odds calculations, etc.. But as I say in my July magazine article the hard part about probability theory is really understanding concepts such as expectation and variance (among other things). I find that many players have an incomplete understanding of the basic principles, or do not exercise them in full faith. E.g. the advoccates of "taking a shot" overbetting your bankroll, are blatantly disregarding the math, but do it anyway. To some extent it is a matter of applying theory vs really understanding the theory.

If you want to go off the deep end, you can get into advanced stuff like game theory and stochastic processes. But those things are somewhat marginal for the actual play of the game, and are mostly for academic theorist types, like myself. As another poster said, you can just believe results others have obtained.

GTSamIAm
08-24-2005, 12:37 AM
I meant for more complex situations, like being able to calculate your equity such as:

Villain: Kx
Hero: 45

Flop: K5J rainbow

What are my chances of winning by showdown? I can make my two pair or trips and still be outdrawn.

Or using combinatorics to find out which combinations and how many of certain hands multiple opponents might have. You put your two opponents on two separate ranges of hands. Then from that, calculating your equity.

Hero: 45
Villain 1: Kx, AA, QQ
Villain 2: JQs-J9s, AJs, QJ-QTo (suit is one on the board)

Flop is: KJ5 rainbow

Luzion
08-24-2005, 02:18 AM
You can learn enough in the first few chapters of a probability book to do those problems. In fact, you dont even need to know how to do basic probability to do the problems you put up.

You could separate everything into groups.

1) You improve on the turn, and again on the river
2) You and your opponent dont improve on the turn, you improve on the river
3) You improve on the turn, and no one improves on the river

Or you could find the probability of you improving by the river, and divide that by the probability your opponent also improves.

GTSamIAm
08-24-2005, 02:36 AM
Isn't there a much faster way to do that?

Luzion
08-24-2005, 02:42 AM
I already told you how in first post at the end.

Figure out the probability you will improve by the river, and multiply by the probability your opponent will improve by the river. This works pretty well, but its approximately. You are still better off calculating each possibility imo; there are times were you may share outs or have hidden outs.

Your 1st problem is reasy. Just calculate the probability that you trip/2pair on the turn, and any non-King plus his kicker on the river and add the probability that the turn doesnt have a King or his kicker, and you improve on the river. Thats your pot equity.

Villain: K8
Hero: 45

Flop: K5J rainbow

Ill assume your opponent has 8 as a kicker. Your pot equity right now is...

Improve on the turn and/or on the river while your opponent doesnt on the river
5/45 * 39/44 = 0.0985
Improve on the river only while your opponent doesnt on the turn
35/45 * 5/44 = 0.0884

Equity = 18.7%

AaronBrown
08-24-2005, 09:26 AM
While it's not hard to learn how to solve these questions exactly, it's not much help to your game. In the first place, most people can't do these in their heads exactly, and in the second place, you don't have precise information. You may put your opponent on certain hands with certain probabilities, but you don't know for sure. You also don't know how the betting will go.

Experienced players have broken down the situations you might face into a manageable number. In your first case, you've got the top pair. In the second you've got the low pair and are assuming each of your opponents has a different higher pair, and every unpaired card in their hands and on the board is higher than either card in your hand. You have to know how to play both situations, the precise cards that make them up affect the odds a little, but not enough to matter. Other people have worked them out, and you can read about it.

Clearly in the first situation you have a big advantage, and in the second you should suggest a switch to lowball. The exact size of the advantage is nowhere near as important as your strategy. In the first hand, you want to extract as much money as possible if your opponent is unpaired or has Jacks or 5's, while not losing too much if he has a pocket pair of Jacks or 5's or J5. That's what you should be thinking about, not whether your chance of winning if the hand is played to showdown is 81.62% (which it is) or 81.63%.

spaminator101
08-24-2005, 05:04 PM
lets just say very small

however if you ever get up to the point where you play 5000-10000 then you definately need phycology on your side
also in large tourneys phycology can be more important if your up against half decent opponents

Luzion
08-24-2005, 06:01 PM
I like how you pulled the number 5000/10000 out of your ass. /images/graemlins/confused.gif

I also like how you make your speculation sound like fact.

Also, can you spell psychology correctly for once? You spelled it wrong like 6x in a row.

spaminator101
08-24-2005, 08:29 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Also, can you spell psychology correctly for once? You spelled it wrong like 6x in a row.

[/ QUOTE ]

ill try