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Frequently asked questions about mathematics and poker

mathematics and poker

Ratio vs Percentage?

Although we have already seen this in the two cases discussed, we would like to expand on this topic, and that is that we can express pot odds in two ways: as a ratio and as a percentage. To calculate the pot odds in ratio, we simply divide the size of the bet we have to match by the pot accumulated up to that moment. Let’s say there is a pot of $75 and we have to call $15 to see our opponent’s hand.

The pot odds would be 5/1 (resulting from dividing 75 by 15).

To convert from ratio to percentage, we must divide 100 by the fraction. In this particular case: 100/5/1= 20%. Another example to make it clear: We have to match $20 for a pot of $40. The ratio is 1/2 and the percentage would be 50%.

Both ways of expressing pot odds are equally valid and we can use either of them interchangeably. Younger players tend to use the percentage more often, while old school players still use the ratio very often. In any case, the good poker player should know either of the two ways of expressing pot odds in order to be able to communicate correctly with other gamers. Sometimes the best way to master this operation is to use a poker calculator and become familiar with the calculation of outs.

How often should our bluff be successful?

If a bluff is successful more often than the percentage of the total pot considering that bluff bet, then that bluff will be profitable. For example, if we bet $50 in a $100 pot, we should be successful 1/3 times, i.e. at least 33.33%.

What are the implied odds in poker?

Implied odds take into account future bets. A 50% flop bet may not be profitable to pay simply because of pot odds (explicit odds) but if we take into account that we can get more money out of it later with re-raises or bets on other streets, then that call or call would become profitable. Example: We are looking for a flush and there is only one more card to go.

In a $100 pot we are bet $30. There are only 9 cards left, which equates to approximately 18% chance, but we would need 30% to call the bet. What happens is that the river is still to come out. And only if our opponent paid us a little more than $12 would we be in the black. (or 50% more than $24 and similar situations).

Keep in mind that for the calculation of implied odds you have to know the tendency of the opponent to pay hands that beat him. Against good players there are practically not many implied odds but there are always players who out of ignorance or frustration will pay you those bets when their hand is outplayed by yours.

Is mathematics important in poker?

It is true that some players do not use mathematics in poker or use it in a very limited way. Understanding the mathematics associated with poker helps us to understand situations in the game that will increase our chances of becoming a winning player in the long run.

Poker starting hands

Mathematics can also be used to create poker starting hand charts.

Although we have already seen in other articles how important it is to have knowledge of mathematics to choose the tables to sit at and the poker buy-ins to play, the truth is that as we have seen in this explanation, statistics is fundamental even to deal with poker hands that apparently common sense dictates what action to take.

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