Math skills?

Chiefer

Chiefer

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do you think it's important to have good math skills to be successful in poker? obviously i know it doesn't hurt to have a firm grasp of math. my problem is i can not do math in my head, i can not figure out percentages for the life of me. i can do them on paper but i think i'd look pretty silly trying to carry the one sitting at the poker table. i just have horrible math skills, i never could get it, history, yes, english, yes, math and science, yeah umm not so much.

i'm the type of person that can't learn things like math from reading, i have to learn by doing it, so i can break it down right in from of me instead of visualizing. so figuring out pot odds and fold equity is next to impossible for me. perhaps it's something i can learn from repitition, perhaps not. in short, what future does a guy like me have in this game if i can't figure out some of the most important aspects of the game. i'm not completely inept, i can do math it just doesn't come very easy for me. i have analize the cards and trust my instincts to make decisions before i act.

what's your take on this. thanks for any imput you can give me.
 
MrDaMan

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There are fly by the seat poker players who don't use math in the classic sense, but they still use math without maybe knowing they are. After considerable experiance many players learn not to chase flushes and inside straights but develop instincts that cause them to call anyway when there are enough chips in the pot to justify it.

There are other players who are math geniuses and play strictly within mathmatic guidelines. I think most poker players are a little of both, if you can grasp the math and apply it to your game it's a good idea. If you can couple that with the ability to read other players better still.

Overall though I don't think you HAVE to be good at math to be a good poker player. I could help or hurt ... it depends on the individual.
 
skoldpadda

skoldpadda

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If you know these 4 sets of numbers for on the flop play, you'll probably be fine:

Number of outs/odds to hit on turn/odds to hit by the river:

15/2:1/better than 1:1
12/3:1/1.2:1
9/4.2:1/better than 2:1
8/5:1/2.2:1
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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If you know these 4 sets of numbers for on the flop play, you'll probably be fine:

Number of outs/odds to hit on turn/odds to hit by the river:

15/2:1/better than 1:1
12/3:1/1.2:1
9/4.2:1/better than 2:1
8/5:1/2.2:1
Although I bet you had the best of intentions, I'm not sure what you wrote is going to make sense to anyone that doesn't already know what they mean. :)
 
skoldpadda

skoldpadda

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Well, gee. If they don't know what odds and outs are, they could find out by doing some basic searching on here. I don't want to come off as patronizing by explaining what I think is common knowledge.

Chiefer, was this helpful to you or would you like more explanation? I'm happy to give examples and spell it out.

You mention that "figuring out pot odds and fold equity is next to impossible" for you. Easy solution, my friend! Pull up your desktop calculator to figure out pot odds. Simply divide the amount in the pot by the amount you must call -- voila! That is what pot odds are. If the pot odds are greater than the "odds to hit" listed above, then you are getting the right price to call.

Not trying to insult you with this basic question, but do you know how to figure out how many outs you have?

Here's a more extensive look at this whole subject -- just found it using the old search function above:
https://www.cardschat.com/odds-for-dummies.php
 
alexanderwoo1

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Well you have to have good math skills because of how many outs you have, pot odds, and what are the percentages of you winning the hand or losing the hand.
 
aliengenius

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You don't need more than simple grade school math. Also, you can just memorize the odds/outs list, it's really not that tough to do. That being said, I wouldn't play without having at least that basic knowledge.
Get this book.
 
Stefanicov

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I dont know the odds of hitting in any given situation but i dont think that is a bad thing unless you r going to play limit, in which case a good grasp of maths is essential. The only figures i use are to work out pot odds which is easy enuff. To try and do percentages would take my attention away from where i want it to be the rest of the players at the table.

In my mind percentage of hitting is not that important to know because so long as u know basics of pot odds and have played for a while experiance will tell u whether a call is right or not.

If u go to the big stakes tho i would say that it becomes a lot more important as players there will always be looking at the math side of the game along with the other parts, making your own understanding of it tht much more important:cool:
 
Devilpoker78

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Well math skills would defintely be a bonus i think, it helps alot if you can come up instantly with the odds on your hands and the pot and whether its worth it to call or raise or just fold.
 
aliengenius

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I agree that it is certainly easier to think in terms of odds instead of percentages. Knowing that you are 4:1 to hit your draw makes a lot more sense to me than knowing I have a 20% chance when trying to figure out if committing money is the right thing to do. Certainly in limit you are making calculations like this much much more of the time.
That being said, there is a quick esitmate you can do for the %s:
On the flop, outs x 4 = approx. % to hit to hit if you see the river (don't forget to factor in the cost of calling both streets).
On the turn, outs x 2 = approx. % to hit.
 
Chiefer

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skoldpadda,

no offense taken, i posed the question so i was prepared to get any answer.

yes i can figure out how many outs i have, if i couldn't i don't think i should be playing the game. actually, your explanation is pretty plain and simple. thank you. i've been trying to read a bit on this since i posted the thread and i think i'm starting to get it. it's just gonna take some work for me to understand it completely and to be able to do this in my head in any given situation. it wouldn't hurt to see an example if you don't mind posting one. i've seen others but i wouldn't mind seeing what you have to say.

i'm really not stupid, i know you are not callingme that, lol, it's just not easy for me to do math in my head is all.
 
skoldpadda

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Ok, here is a good example. You have AK hearts on board of QhJh6c.

There is 1K in the pot when it gets to you and the bet is 500 (the opponent has made a pot sized bet). Should you call?

Let's take the simple case where you are last to act (so you don't need to consider the pot getting re-raised and thus potentially putting more money in). Further let's say you're against a super tight player and no one else is in the pot. In fact, you know that he will only bet with the nuts. So you put him on QQ in the hole.

1. Pot odds are 1000/500 = 2:1
2. You need to complete your flush or straight to win the hand. Therefore you have 11 outs (all the hearts except the 6h which will pair the board for his full house AND the 3 non-heart 10s which give you a straight).
3. We'll ignore the small chance of the turn and river cards being the same and potentially making your hand but also giving him a boat. Just keep in mind that the answer we get will slightly over-estimate the true amount you should be willing to call.
4. You have 11 outs twice. Wow, that's not on my list. No problem -- use the rule of 4 metioned by aliengenius to figure out the chance of getting your outs by the river, rule of 2 for hitting on the turn. That means about 44% by the river and 22% by the turn. 44% is 4/9 or in other words, 4 times you make it and 5 you don't or odds of 5:4 against. By the turn, it is 22% or 2/9 or 7:2 against.
5. Mathematically, it is not correct to call this bet with only 1 street to come (because 2:1 pot odds -- amount you get paid off -- is less than the 7:2 (or 3.5:1) odds of hitting your flush or straight). If you're down to your last 500 or willing to go to the river, then you will see 2 streets (5:4 odds against hitting) and then this call is justified.

There is a bit more to consider like do you have a deep stack, do you have fold equity (in this case unlikely since villain has the nuts), where you are in a tournament (level, number of players left, near the bubble, etc), etc.

Think about why it is incorrect mathematically to call with only 1 street/card to come: as mentioned above, you make it 2 times for every 7 you miss. So, if you called the 500 there would be 1500 in the pot.
Calling and missing 7 times means you lose 3500. Calling and hitting twice means that you make 3000. So in the long run, your EV (expected value) of this play is 3000 gained - 3500 lost or -500. (-)EV play is bad!

:turtle:
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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Well, gee. If they don't know what odds and outs are, they could find out by doing some basic searching on here. I don't want to come off as patronizing by explaining what I think is common knowledge.
Good point.

I didn't mean to give you a hard time in any way - I hope you didn't take it that way; fwiw, I like that you took the time to respond at all. If, for instance, you look at my post - I bring nothing to the topic at all except a half-assed remark about your post not being informative enough. Good job, me! :D
 
skoldpadda

skoldpadda

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Good point.

I didn't mean to give you a hard time in any way - I hope you didn't take it that way; fwiw, I like that you took the time to respond at all. If, for instance, you look at my post - I bring nothing to the topic at all except a half-assed remark about your post not being informative enough. Good job, me! :D


But you did welcome me in my introduction post and I love your blog and have a lot of respect for your contributions, so I appreciate the criticism!
I hope the example I show clarifies my original post. :)
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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Okay, necessary derail coming up:

Where'd you get your nickname? Your loc says Illinois, but your alias is Swedish, so I'm curious!
 
skoldpadda

skoldpadda

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Okay, necessary derail coming up:

Where'd you get your nickname? Your loc says Illinois, but your alias is Swedish, so I'm curious!

I'll post in my intro so I don't highjack his thread.
 
titans4ever

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If you really don't want to work at the math there are chips you can buy that have all the odds on them. They sell them as card protectors, I will look and see if I can find a link. I saw them in Vegas for $7-8.
 
TheRifle

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OK, Maths stuff for on-line Poker:

1. Subtraction - if you call what appears to be a strange bet then will it cripple you? This can actually be avoided in some cases by "re-raise all-in" as this in some cases will leave you with 0.
2. Some basic probabilities which I am sure are already covered - also called outs - you can do lots of fancy maths with these and then factor in implied odds and multi player dimensions and end up with an answer that could be the squareroot of e in some cases.
3. Retention rate - this applies to the bladder and is very important for MTTs
4. The 6 rule - Don't hold your breath longer than 6 minutes nor forget to drink for 6 days nor eat for 6 weeks - if you do something bad in most cases will happen to you.
5. This final point might be a little frivolous but remember that lack of sunlight is detrimental to the human body so try to go out at least once every few months for a few minutes.
 
ChuckTs

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do you think it's important to have good math skills to be successful in poker?


Yes! :)

I don't think it's essential, but to answer your question, yes it's very important. I personally didn't learn to calculate my pot odds on the spot until a few months ago, and still suck at it (I've been playing for about 2-3 years now).

It really is simple, though - it just takes a lot of practice. Try for a couple sessions calculating your pot odds before you make any decision preflop. It's tough at first (and you probably won't be able to for the first while), but it'll grow on you and eventually become an essential step in playing a hand.
 
B

broncos53

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Yes i think it a big point but for me the easiest way is a good poker calculator and then just memorize the odds for the next time i see the hand i am pretty good at remembering numbers and such so i guess that makes me pretty good at it lol
 
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