Because I have been promoting my new book Mastering Poker Math, I frequently discuss the probabilities before (or after) the flop when someone asks. It usually works to improve my reputation at the table and occasionally creates some curiosity about my new book.
It isn’t uncommon for players to ask me the probabilities of an occurrence since they know that I know the math extremely well. Sometimes the question comes from another table (during a friendly tournament).
On one evening during a casual tournament a player who I know well called over to me from another table.
“Chuck, what is the probability of getting a flush on the flop when you have two of the same suit?” I immediately called back "It is .8%".
Several people from the other table (as well as my table) turned their heads, stared at me with a bit of wonderment on how I knew this obscure probability. I sensed respect and maybe a bit of fear at my quick and accurate response from players at both tables.
What many of the players don’t know is that it wasn’t that tough when you know the back story.
I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered that people at the two tables thought I was knowledgeable, or saddened because I was spending so much time preparing my new book for release!
I had been investing a huge amounts of time day after day checking, re-checking and checking again my book to prepare it for release. After reading the same material over and over again, it can’t help but become an integral part of you.
On a side note: I did take first place in that local tournament!
Below is a picture of the most recent printouts of the book Mastering Poker Math that I used to edit the book. I checked the book so many times because I want it to be good. I want it to be very good.
The check prints when I was finishing up Mastering Poker Math for publication.
If you are a poker player my goal for the book: Mastering Poker Math is to help you accelerate your game forward as quickly as possible so you can become a New Breed of Poker Player. It is designed to do this by helping you learn the math at a visceral level and how to integrate that math with the other aspects of your game.
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In this blog post we will explore the importance of math in poker and why it is worth investing time to become good at it if you are a serious player, or just enjoy knowing a bit more than your friends about the game.
Players today are competitive, experienced and better than ever. Gaining a competitive advantage isn’t as easy as it once was, however it is still possible. Knowing the math is a key element. This begs the question:
How much of a competitive advantage can math bring you today?
I will make an educated guess that poker math is (at least) 40% of the game. It might be more. Someone, or a computer program will probably come out with a better number based on analysis at some point. But for this discussion let’s assume it is 40%.
Thus, if the perfect player is 100% Game Theory Optimal (which doesn’t exist, but is fun to think about), and the math is 40% of that, doesn’t it make sense to invest the time to become exceptional at poker math? Especially, when much of the math is straight-forward!
If the premise of 40% is correct, then learning 25 - 30% of that math knowledge will give you a significant advantage over others who don’t know or use much math. The reason I say learn 25 - 30% is because there is at least 10 - 15% of the math that is extremely complex.
Assuming the average poker player’s math ability is in the 10 - 15% range (the author’s observation), then you will have a significant advantage by knowing 25 - 30% of the math.
Many players who consistently make poor Expected Value (EV) plays have inferior math abilities. They don’t size their bets properly by betting too much, or too little. This is done a high percentage of the time.
And, they will call over inflated bets when they don’t have enough hand equity to warrant the call. These players can be exploited with excellent math knowledge.
To add to this, the variabilities in Texas No-Limit Hold’em are small. In other words, there are thin margins. Consequently:
In a game with thin margins and many poor math skilled players,
knowing the math provides a significant advantage.
Texas Hold’em is incredibly popular in the United States and around the world. According to the WPT (World Poker Tour) there are 60 million poker players in the US and 100 million poker players around the world. More people play poker than either golf, tennis or billiards.
The Skill Gap in Texas No-Limit Hold’em has dropped dramatically and continues to go down. The competition today is tough. It is very tough!
The poker learning curve has been slashed by the amazing number of books, internet, software, videos, blogs, resources and access to live and internet games.
Many people invest a lot of their time and money learning and playing the game. However, most still do not know the math at a visceral level.
Many players don’t see the value in learning the math. They think it is a game of luck, not skill. Some players detest the math and want to play strictly by their gut. Others are just lazy. Whatever the reason, this opens a huge opportunity door for you.
By learning the math at a gut level, you will become part of the New Breed of Poker Player.
Math is only one aspect of the game. To become excellent at the game requires many skills. And these skills need to be combined with your math abilities.
Shown below is a high-level graphic of some of the key skills to become a feared shark at Texas No-Limit Hold’em. Throughout the book we will discuss how to integrate these skills with the math that is being explained.
Skills to Become a Feared Shark at Poker
This final blog has completed our series on how to become a New Breed of Poker Player. Stay tuned for more blogs on Mastering Poker Math!
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"A must read if you’re serious about improving your game."
~ Tom Britton
Become a Feared Shark!
This blog has been created to help you gain a competitive edge using poker math and how to integrate it with the rest of your game. Enjoy! ~ Chuck Clayton