Poker Math and Betting

The key to winning in poker is to play your hands much better than your opponents do with the same hand. As the chances of getting the cards even at after the long run, you need to play better than your opponents to win. If you are slightly ahead of the competition, you might not be able to overcome the rake (the small fee that poker rooms collect from the pot). So it is imperative that you must be heads above the competition.

I'm sure that many of your opponents are not using any mathematics (yes, math!) when playing poker. Though you might wonder where math is involved in poker, it plays a big role in terms of winning in poker. Many of your opponents may be putting their money into the pot without thinking about the correct odds of winning the hand. The important thing for you is to avoid placing your money in the pot without the right odds of winning.

For example, if you only have a gut shot straight draw. You have no chance of winning unless you make the straight. Even if you make the straight, still that is not a guarantee that you will win. If you have a one-in-1000 chance of winning it may not be worth laying down a dollar to win one million dollars. If you lay down two hundred thousand dollars to win the same pot, which is worse.

I'm also sure that a lot of your opponents are playing their hands without concern for their opponent's hands. If you can read your opponents' hand very well, you will be unbeatable. Like for example a player made a call on the last card lost. He liked the hand and thought that it was a worthwhile call.

But if you are very good at reading your opponent's hands, you would watch this player closely. Then you notice that he rarely bluffs and is very cautious with his hands. You now have an idea on how he plays and you could easily remember the plays this player made in the past. You can now have a good idea of what this player is holding.

You will then look at your own hands and how you would fare against your opponent's hands. Once you have calculated your chances of gaining the best hand, you will compare it to the size of the pot to see if it's worth a call.

This is where you have the advantage over your opponent. Your opponent just made a call on a whim without much thinking involved. A smart poker play does not merely rely on luck or whim to win games, but in thinking intelligently and making wise decision at the table.


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