Monthly Archive: June 2015

Probability in poker

Poker might be one of the most popular card games, because it is played by people all around the world and of all ages. Some play it for fun, some play on bets, but some play it as their source of income. However, because poker is a card game, and cards are something countable, poker might be beatable by math. No wonder those big casinos in Las Vegas have forbidden counting cards.

In poker the most efficient method of math that can be used is probability. Probability is the mathematical branch, that calculates the likelihood that at the end one outcome or another will occur. The easiest example is coin toss. If you toss a coin there are two possible outcomes – either you will get heads or tails. So the probability of flipping a coin is 50/50 – 50 % that you will get tails and 50% that you will get heads.

If it sounds easy with coin toss, the probability in any card game let alone poker is much more complicated, because in card game there are more that two possible outcomes. Lets calculate a little: if regular poker card deck have 52 cards in it and each of the cards can be one of four types – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades – and one of 13 ranks – from the number two to Kings, Aces and Jacks – then the odds of getting a King as your first card is 1 in 13 (7.7%), but the odds of getting a heart as your first card is 1 in 4 (25%). But with cards you also have to remember that once a card is drawn, there are less cards left in the deck, for example once a King is drawn there are only three left and the probability changes – becomes bigger to 1 in 3 (33.33%) -, so you constantly need to recalculate your probabilities.

The probability that can be calculated in the game of poker is the probability of each type of card of the 5-card hand. It can be figured out by calculating the proportion of hands of that type among all possible hands.

This is why math actually is on of the most important things while playing poker, because if you do it quick enough and sneaky enough, it can really help you at the poker game and you can actually beat the poker game with the help of math and probability.