Let's discuss poker and math

November 08, 2011 3:00 AM

Folks, I know the really smart players want to talk about standard deviations, poker probabilities and other really important things.

I’d rather discuss poker and math.

The Bad News: Poker is a very mathematical game.

The Good News: The calculations are pretty simple. If you are able to do fourth grade math you will be able to play well enough to win.


• There are just 52 cards in the deck.

• There are four suits in the deck, 13 cards in each. Unlike bridge, suits don’t count. All four aces are equal value.

• 4 x 13 = 52. All the variations you can think of are with these few numbers.

Given the above facts you can begin to calculate a little about odds and begin understanding a little about probability.

Now let’s just for fun try some of this out!

The probability of randomly drawing the ace of spades on the first card when playing Texas Hold’em is 1 out of 52 or a ratio of 51 to 1.

In betting, you should be paid 51-1 on drawing the ace just to break even. This means your bet would be structured. If I draw the ace of spades, pay me $51 and if not I pay you $1.

Now Folks, who in the heck wants to break even? I don’t and you shouldn’t either. You would look for an individual who doesn’t understand this math and try to persuade the person to pay you 52 or 53-1. If they are really dumb 60-1.

This is the essence of playing winning poker.

The probability of drawing any ace is 48 to 4 or 12-1.

When drawing an ace on the first card from a full deck, the probability of pairing it on the next card when playing Texas Hold’em is 51 to 3 or 17-1.

Now comes time for a little test. If you can’t work it out email me at www.Oklajohnny.com and I will give you the answers.

The odds of drawing a diamond from a full 52 card deck on just one try?

The odds of drawing a fourth ace on the next card if you have already drawn aces in the first three cards?

The overall odds of drawing aces in just the first four cards that you receive?

The probability of heads or tails flipping a coin?

As for the odds of getting three aces by the river (fifth card), it’s 45 to 2 against you. If you do not get the ace on the turn there will be 46 cards left in the deck, two are available making the odds 44 to 2 against you.

Now folks that how it works:

Any question about the probabilities of the math can be solved by use of the equation 4 x 13 = 52. Not like Einstein’s E=MC squared, but strong enough to play good poker.

OKJ Tip of the Week

When in school doing home work and a little extra, read the next few pages of the teacher’s assignment. You will become an A student.

Studying the exact amount the teacher assigns makes you a B student. Stopping short of studying the full amount and you’re a C.

Studying just a little bit of what is assigned makes you a D. No attempt to study and you become an F.

It’s up to you to become a No. 1 poker player. Do your homework. You can take the money home and count it there!

Until next time remember to Stay Lucky.