This is a discussion on How Important is Poker Math?!? within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; I've been playing poker now for about 4 years and i've never felt the need to learn or understand poker math. Sure i know the 



#1




How Important is Poker Math?!?
I've been playing poker now for about 4 years and i've never felt the need to learn or understand poker math. Sure i know the basics such as pot odds, but what are my odds to win with KQ on KQ8 if my opponent is holding AK? QQ? JT? i honestly don't know. I know how to figure it out. But my question is, is this kind of math important for every hand? And should it come natural to be able to figure out my equity in any given hand? How much does it actually help...

#2




Figuring out equity is very important but quite easy to learn and should come fairly quickly and naturally once learnt and put in practice. Though one question is how do you know about for example pot odds if you don't know your equity? You need to know your equity to know weather the pot odds are sufficient to make a call. It's no good knowing you are getting 3 and1/2 to one if your actual odds of winning are only 7 in one
But the general rule is your number of outs times 2 per street for chasing hands postflop. It's also worth learning some basic preflop equity charts. 
#3




Quote:
Let's say you shoved or called a shove in a tournament, and you lost. You can either go "oh well" and move on, or pull up Pokerstove and find out how much equity you had preflop against his hand, and against the range of hands he should have in that spot. Knowing this stuff helps you make better decisions, and you'll eventually be playing against people who know it inside and out. You don't want Norman Chad dogging you on TV someday for not know your equity in a hand. 
#5




Quote:

#6




Just watch how opponent is playing and then decide what he might have. You have to analize your opp for a couple of hands. It hepls. For example, if flop is K84 and your opp is tight and he is raising he might have two pairs or set. If your opp is playing with every hand (even with rubbish) and he is raising  he might have a pair with top kicker.
That's how I play and it helps me to guess what opp has. 
#9




Quote:
But why don't you use a tool like PokerStove? 
#11




Personally, i think that math and stats are very valuable and hugely useful only but only if you know how to apply them, otherwise it will jeopardize all your money. If a software tells you that if a player makes 75% of the time a pot size bet in the river it doesn´t mean you will call him. Your poker instinct which is the truly tool to use might tell you to fold and you always should follow that.

#12




if you look at the poker tables are pages you can help but to play certain hands of cards, depends on several factors, including the size of your stack, the pot size, your position at the table as the other players act before and after the flop, but hey that does not guarantee anything, who not lost with AAA set against full or ladder ... so is poker.

#13




To know ur poker math makes it easier to come to a decision wether to act , but its only a help and not a garantee to win a hand. Poker isn t all about skill, which includes the math knowledge, its also the factor luck . And this u can t control.
gl on the felts 
#14




re: Poker & How Important is Poker Math?!?
For me Equity comes into play at crucial stages og the game more importantly the final stages...As the game levels increase i start giving equity the same trend of importance, but all said over all its just one of the factors of many to consider when u are facing your opponent. Final verdict is, its important to these things...

#15




Thanks for replies, I will get pokerstove and start crunching some numbers.
My main reason for asking this is, watching Vanessa Rousso playing, she knew almost exact percentages of each hand to win (Heads up) on pretty much every street. Which I thought was crazy. But without knowing your opponents hands, it seems it would be difficult to calculate your equity in the hand vs opponents range, especially when trying to this on the fly while playing multiple tournaments. I guess just practice and eventually you have a pretty decent idea. 
#16




I personally dont think its massively important its not going to make a very good player a losing player,
Its more about weighing up pros and cons and risk factors  * for example, ''this guy is short stacked just past the bubble with 7/8BB he's likely shoving any ace, any pair possibly king high from middle to late position so i can call looser. Or  ''this guy is extremely tight and I haven't seen him reraise the turn all night  or play aggressive OOP  so Im only going to showdown with close to the ab/nuts which effectively is making you make a mathamatical decision on playable hand range 
#17




It is def useful as others have mentioned.
The rule of 4 and 2 is easy and simple way to figure percentages. You don't have to be a brainiac to have success, but you also shouldn't be making terrible calls just because you have a flush draw when its 21 on your money. 
#18




I personally feel that poker math is extremely important to a grinder and relatively unimportant to a loose cannon. The reason I feel this way is because for a grinder to be successful he must be able to range another hand, calculate the EV of his own hand against that range, and play accordingly. This way he can have winnings that always exceed his losses. Grinders take their winnings a little at a time and consistently. Loose cannons are a whole different story. If a player is willing to play any two cards and attempt to outplay you then the math really makes no difference. Loose cannons need reading ability. They need to know your range by how you play hands and then be able to take advantage of those situations to create the situation they want (getting you to call with the worst of it and fold with the best of it basically). So it all depends on your personal style and strengths. If you are a winning player and have yet to learn the math then that tells me that you aren't a grinder. If you are a losing player then maybe you should learn some of the math and see how it affects your play. If you don't know whether you are a losing player or winning player, you are probably a losing player, and you need to learn the math and how to use a stats site. I hope this helps.

#20




Quote:
Excellent perspective above! I think that having a good grasp on the math is crucial to being a winning player. You don't need to know it down to the exact % but you need to have a pretty good idea. Grinders need math, "loose cannons" need reading ability and top players have both and constantly look for ways to improve both. What makes Poker a better game than Blackjack or craps or Roulette? Well, essentially the fact that you get to choose WHEN to put your money in. You don't have to put your money in first and then wait to see what happens....you get part of the story, decide whether or not to continue and for how much. Skilled players will only put their money in when it is profitable to do so, that is why it is possible to consistently win at poker. To fully utilize this profitable feature at a poker table, you have to know how to calculate these things to know whether a certain action is a "good bet" or not. The best way to learn the math, IMO is later, away from the table to analyze the hands you've played. Next time you bust out, or are waiting for a game to start plug in a few hands and see what each player's equity was at the time the money went in. I don't think very many poker players are calculating their actual equity during the middle of a hand....but once they've analyzed a similar situation enough times they can quickly process that "ballpark" information in the back of their mind while simultaneously making other decisions and using other available info. Example: I'm facing an all in holding 88 in my BB. I figure half the time he's got 2 overs and the other half of the time I'm facing an overpair. so what's my equity? ...at the table I'm thinking "my equity is roughly a third or 33% vs this player's range" but how do I know that? Because countless times I've gone home and calculated something that looks like this: 50% of the time he has 2 overs and I'm 50% to win so that = 25% equity (50 x 0.5) 50% of the time he has an overpair and I'm 20% to win so that = 10% equity (50 x 0.20) so my total equity in calling here is 35% (25% + 10%) Since the pot is only laying me 1.5:1 this is not a profitable spot to call. Eventually after analyzing enough hands and situations you'll have a good idea of ranges and how certain hands matchup in certain ranges. It is very useful info. other important ways to use math: figuring out the proper bet size to give bad odds to your opponent's drawing hands deciding whether or not you have odds to chase your draw figuring what the average stack will be when the bubble bursts figuring what the average stack will be at the final table (then you know "I need to double up 2 more times before the final table" and help make your decisions easier.) Knowing that roughly 2/3 of the time in a heads up pot, your opponent misses the flop...so if they bet the flop 70% of the time they are Cbetting A LOT I think math becomes even more important whenever you play short handed. It goes on and on.... 
#21




re: Poker & How Important is Poker Math?!?
Good information here for a new player. A lot of references to Pokerstove, which I have heard of but not looked into yet. Is this a good place to learn the concepts and how to apply them, or mostly to crunch the numbers? Any suggestions for the best sources for learning the basics of poker math and how to best apply the concepts? Also  if I like to play live more often than online, and won't have a computer or data or spreadsheets available, what are the most important concepts to memorize and use at a live table?

#23




My undergrad degree is in mathematics and while a good player knows the math behind the poker, the mathematical concepts are fairly easy to learn and apply: pot odds, % to complete drawing hands (or improve hands), equity based on proper ranging, etc. I find the psychology of poker to be far more useful than the math of poker, though. When you can figure out the "why" of your opponents' decisionmaking, the math becomes next to useless.

#25




Quote:
basically you can put in your hand and 1 or more hands from your opponent and calculate your odds of winning. Some of the better apps will also let you pick a "range" for your opponent instead of a specific hand...I use this function A LOT. Assign them a range, see how my hand matches up against it... 
#27




I've played thousands of hands and I know I'm not an expert but I have to agree I feel I can make correct plays and have seen enough to evaluate and make an educated decision. Maybe I'm coming at it wrong but the whole time you are basing all you decisions off of player history. You keep track of how many time this player has folded or shoved or check raised. From that info you have an idea of what that player is holding. Super tight player who all the sudden starts betting big after folding 20 hands probably has the better hand. From that info you determine your outs and how much you want to spend chasing.

#29




I've played thousands of hands and I know I'm not an expert but I have to agree I feel I can make correct plays and have seen enough to evaluate and make an educated decision. Maybe I'm coming at it wrong but the whole time you are basing all you decisions off of player history. You keep track of how many time this player has folded or shoved or check raised. From that info you have an idea of what that player is holding. Super tight player who all the sudden starts betting big after folding 20 hands probably has the better hand. From that info you determine your outs and how much you want to spend chasing.

#32




poker math is very important if you like to play the odds. my game comes more on feeling than anything if im ahead in the hand most the time i know it and will call if i think im ahead..... i find myself losing on the river alot...... but thats just poker in the long run i should win money

#34




People are saying to watch the player and if you are ahead you know. While that can be true, what if you are behind in the hand and you know it?
You have nothing but a draw to the nut flush on the flop and the pot is $1,000 and villian bets $500, do you have the odds to make the call? This is when you need the math, you need to call $500 into a $1500 pot you are getting 3 to 1 odds which means you need to be good 25% of the time to make a positive EV call. Luckily you got about a 3540% chance of getting your flush so it is right to call. Now I am new to poker and poker math myself so if anyone sees anyone flaws in my post, please let me know 
