Using math skills to play better?
So ive been reading a poker book. In the beginning it talks about Pot odds
and actual odds. It introduces the reader to the concept by saying that the actual odds of a coin hitting tails when flipped is 1-1. Because its heads or tails. Its about 50% in your favor. So lets say if it hits tails you give me a dollar. On heads I give you a dollar. It's really not worth it, in the long run its equal pay for us both.
Now what if we adjust the pay. If it hits tails you give me a dollar. On heads I give you 3 dollars. 1-1 odds of an event occuring vs. 3-1 payout! WOW! You know what, if I was you I would be flipping this coin all day long for heads. I'd be out making a withdrawal from my bank. I'd put down 50 to 100 bucks at a time to flip that coin. Theres no magic coin out there like those though... unless your a skilled poker player?? Im guessing there is a "magic coin" like this for anyone who owns a casino, because all their games are made this way.
I just realized yesterday how vital this very simple concept is, and how overlooked it probably is. Its so mundane and simple that its boring in a way. Anyone can see that if I can pay 50 bucks to flip a coin for 150 that its worth it to try. But its tougher to use these reasoning skills at the poker table. Plus its way more difficult to see the probabilities and the value of the move. Takes a lot more calculating.(this is why slots
are probably the most popular way to gamble because people tend to be lazy, dont want to be challenged, dont want to use reasoning skills or calculate probabilities. I also think it takes some balls to play at a table against other players for THEIR money.) And even if you do sit there and calculate things, it may not always be in your best interest to make the highest probability move right? or wrong?
But what im thinking is that while it's probably not always in your best interest to do the complicated math on each and every move you make, there are probably many moments where being able to do this mathematical reasoning can give you a powerful edge. Because sometimes its just so easy to see that the pot is sooo damn huge and the bet your being asked to make for it is sooo low and your hand just hit the flop that its pretty clear that this is the time to make the move without busting out your calculator skills. Maybe you dont want to make the move because your trying to keep the players in the hand. Probabilities and statistics cant make THAT kind of a judgement call.
The main concept to understand here is... your goal is to flip a coin for 300 dollars for only thirty bucks, and to do it as often as possible because you will be almost gauranteed to make money in the long run if you do that even if you do lose some. But... opportunities to do just that are going to be scarce. You need to be patient, and you need to focus. Because it takes skill to see that this moment is a 10-1 deal on an event that is... very likely to occur.
So after all that ive typed, I got one simple question... How many of you do the calculating and the math on each hand that you cant just look at and know that it is good? Like how many of you bust out a calculator when playing online, or do the probabilities in your head at the table(I know I have a knack for this kind of thing, so if I want to play at a table ill be practicing probability in my head).