The game of poker involves much more than just outplaying your opponents or continually striving to raise the level of your skills, all the while maintaining a poker face. Whether you like it or not, poker also requires a certain level of math skills before you decide to raise, fold, call or bet. There are various situations in a game when you will need to activate your math skills and then make an informed decision since doing so can greatly increase your chance of winning.
While playing your game, you will need to convert probability, which is measured in percentage, into odds. In order to do that, you will need to subtract the probability from 100 and then divide that result again with the probability. For example, if the probability is 20%, then you will need to subtract 20 from 100, which is 80 and then divide 80 by 20, which comes to 4. This means that the odds are 4 to 1 “against”. This means that the chances of success are 1 in every 5 attempts since you will first need to add 4 with 1, which equals to 5. In other words, it means that out of every 5 times that you play, you have 1 chance of succeeding. This calculation can help you to decide in advance as to whether it is worth playing ahead, thus saving you some serious cash or even earning a large amount if you find that the chance of winning is much higher.
Another example where math will be required is that if the value of the pot is $100 and if you need to bet a minimum of $10, then based on the above point you will need to multiply $10 with 5 [odds], which is equal to $50. This means that the pot is paying you more than $50 and thus you can take the risk since the amount that can be won provides you with a positive expectation. However, if the pot only has $40, then you could face a negative expectation of $10 in case you decide to make the bet. This calculation will help you to compare your risks with the rewards and will enable you to raise, fold, call or bet.
Your mathematical calculation will not only have to be made at the start of every game but based on the money in the pot and the bets that have been placed, you will also need to do some re-calculations when the ‘Turn’ and ‘River’ cards are dealt. You will also need to base your math calculations on the way in which your opponents place their bets since you might suddenly find a positive expectation turning into a negative expectation or vice versa as the game progresses.
In addition to math skills, you will also need to master other skills such as keeping a tight reign on your emotions, intent focus on your own game as well as those of your opponents and the ability to oversee your own money. Although math skills are an integral part of good poker strategy, a combination of all the above skills is eventually what will set you apart from your opponents.
There are many players who have a phobia regarding math and hence concentrate on only using their other skills while ignoring the mathematical aspect of this game. This can prove counterproductive. Math skills are not very difficult to master and once you start using them, you will realize that your chances of winning multiply very fast.