The math in poker is an essential factor if you want to achieve success. For every decision you make, you need to rely on two things – psychology and math. While psychology can help you understand other player's communication, behavior, and tactics, learning poker math will bring you a lot more.
In this article, we will give you all the necessary information about probability and how this field is related to poker. For instance, this can include the probability of getting certain cards while you play in online casino. After that, you will find out how to calculate your odds and outs. In the end, we will analyze why is so important to focus on making a decision based on logic, not emotions.
What is Probability?
Probability is a mathematical term that refers to deals with the likelihood that one outcome or another will occur. Let's explain this through the example. So, if a coin flip, there are two possible outcomes – tail or head. This means that the probability that the flipped coin will hand on the tail is 50%. Basically, this is one out of two outcomes. There is also a 50% chance that the flipped coin will land on its head.
Let's talk about probability and poker cards
In poker, when a deck of cards is dealing, the number of possible outcomes is much bigger than it was in example with the coin. Every card deck for poker has 52 cards. There are four card signs including clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades, and there are thirteen ranks including numbers 2 to 10, Ace, Jack, Queen, and King. So, for instance, the possibility of getting any Ace as your first card is 1 in 13 which is 7.7%. On the other hand, the odds of getting any spade as the first card is 1 in 4, which is 25%.
However, there is one trick that can be helpful to every poker player. Cards in Poker have memory which means that every card dealt is changing the deck. So, if you receive an ace as your first card, you will conclude that there are only three other aces left among other cards. So, the odds of receiving one more ace is 3 in 51, which is 5.9%. This percentage is much less than the odds before you received the first Ace.
What about the Flop?
In case you see a flop, you should also think about the odds of you and your opponent and whether they are improved or not during the game. An “out” in poker refers to the card that can improve a player's hand after the flop. There is one common situation where a player holds two suited cards and two cards of the same suit appear on the flop. In this case, a player has four cards to a flush and he needs one of the remaining cards of that suit in order to complete the hand successfully. The player has exactly nine outs to make the flush.
Calculating the odds of completing a hand can sound like a difficult task. Therefore, there is a useful trick well known as a rule of four and two. This means that the player needs to count the number of cards that can improve his hand. After that, he will multiply that number by four and in that way, he can calculate his possibility of getting that card on the turn or the river. In case he misses his draw on the turn, he will need to multiply the outs by two.
In that way, he will definitely find the probability of filling his hand on the river. So, if we are looking at the four-flush example, the player's chances of reaching the flush after the flop are 36% and 18% after the turn.
Let's find out what are Pot Odds
For calculating odds, there are more things that you need to understand. One more important element in calculating odds is pot odds. They present the proportion of the next bet in relation to the size of the pot. Let's explain this through the example. So, if the pot is $90 and the player must call a $10 bet in order to continue playing the hand, he is getting 9 to 1 (90 to 10) pot odds in that case.
However, if he decides to call, the new pot will now be $100 and his $10 call makes up 10% of the new pot. This method is a well-known option for online poker games hosted by Ezugi.
Every experienced player will compare the pot odds to the odds of improving their hand, and, based on that, he will make the decision. Basically, if the pot odds are higher than the odds of improving the hand – the best decision will be to call the bet. If the player does not call, he will fold. Additionally, this calculation is close to the concept of expected value, which we will analyze below.
What are bad beats?
If you want to be successful in poker, you need to understand what does bad beat means. Basically, this represents the situation where a player completes a hand that started out with a very low success probability. So, remember this when you are gambling – even though an outcome you want to reach is highly unlikely to happen, the low likelihood does not make it completely impossible. This is the idea that many experts are guided by.
Also, a player's experience and skills will be reflected in the way he handles and manages bad beats. Therefore, you can hear from many experienced poker players that bad beats are the reason why many inferior players stay in the game. Poker players that are not very good at playing this card game will often try to somehow attract “luck” instead of focusing on logical moves and strategies (supported by different math formulas). So, they will probably continue to make the previous mistakes which will more experienced players eventually use against them.
Never let emotions overwhelm you
As a Poker player, you always need to focus on logical decisions, not on the possible winning results. If you understand why probability is such a big factor in poker and how it functions, you can make the right decisions at every hand. The key to success in this casino games lays in discipline, patience, learning, and skills, not in luck, whether you are playing Texas Holdem or some other Poker type.