Certain practitioners can predict, with perfect accuracy, such natural phenomena as the day, the night, the tides and even celestial events that will occur a thousand years from now.
In poker, any player can predict with that same astonishing accuracy the likelihood of any card appearing at any time. He can predict the likely holdings of his opponents and, based on his own hand, he can predict the long–term profitability of any call, bet or raise.
In astrophysics and the navigation of spacecraft, the requirement for accuracy is absolute. In poker a close approximation is all you need.
The outcome of any hand of poker is determined by either or both of the fall of the cards and the actions of the players. If the cards fall so that you have the best hand and you don’t fold, you will win the pot. If you employ a betting strategy that compels your opponent(s) to fold, your cards could be blank and you will still win the pot.
Knowledge of odds and probabilities can turn seemingly random events, such as the fall of the cards, into eminently predictable occurrences. An understanding of positive or negative expectation will tell the long–term profitability of any given play and a grasp of basic Game Theory can tell much about the likely responses of opponents.
The first aim of this book is simplicity and clarity so that any player will be able to access the power of odds, probability and game theory information in support of each poker decision.
To facilitate access, the information in Practical Poker Math is organized into layers. For both Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hi–Lo it is presented sequentially, based on the round of betting. For each round there is a brief discussion of applicability, followed by a table of the odds for that round, followed by an expansion and explanation of the calculation of each of the odds found in the table. In the center of the book is a consolidation of all of the odds tables from both games.
The result of this organization is that the player who is only interested in referencing certain odds may easily do so in the chapter that contains the consolidated odds tables — without having to wade through hundreds of odds calculations. The player more interested in the principles may read each section’s text and refer to the attendant table. Any player who would like to explore the calculation of a certain set of odds can find the expansion and explanation of that calculation in a logical location by the round of betting. And, finally, for the student who wants to learn it all — it is all there.