Follow math to the jackpot

Mar 21, 2005 1:06 AM

Did you ever consider the word history? The first record of the past was not written it was told and passed along by the old folks telling stories.

Here is a little play on words. Just break history down like this: HIS is just me talking and STORY is just the stories that I tell, so here is a little bit of his-story.

I know that you like it when I tell you that the math of poker is easy. So, today I am going to get back into the math of poker.

If the poker player can multiply 4 times 13 to get 52, they can become a winner at the poker table. Remember, 4 is the number of suites and 13 is the number of cards in each of the four suites, thus 52 is the total number of cards in a standard deck.

If a poker player can do those simple fourth grade arithmetic problems, he can become a poker mathematician. Most of the math of poker is inside those numbers.

Yes, poker math is very simple!

Now the really smart boys cloud their remarks in high-fluting talk and use words like standard deviation and the theory of permutations and combinations and all the other theories of possibilities and probabilities.

So let me try something that is just fourth grade arithmetic,

But first Carol, here is a little quiz for you. If we are playing no limit hold ”˜em and all the money has been bet, I am going to give you AA and ask you what you think is the best pair of cards that I can hold. That is, what is the pair that will give me the best chance to beat your two aces.

I will give you a clue — it is not KK or QQ. If you cannot wait until the next column email me [email protected] and I will give you the answer.

You remember the words to my friend Merle Haggard’s song:

"They don’t smoke it down at the court house and

the students still respect the college dean.

The girls are still girls and the boys don’t wear pony tails."

Carol, when you hold QhJc and I hold 4s3d in no limit hold em before the flop, what are my chances of winning the pot if all the money has been bet and we are the only two that remain in the pot?

Answer No. 1: None. Well, that’s wrong; I have a chance but how much of a chance?

Answer No. 2: 20 percent. No, that is too little, I have more of a chance than that.

Answer No. 3: 50 percent. No, that is too much.

The correct answer is 25 percent.

In this case four things can happen:

  1. I will improve my hand more than you will improve yours. We both have a 50/50 chance of improvement so this is dead even. (This is the one set that I will win.)

  2. There will be no improvement with either hand. Again, there is 50/50 chance of either of us improving our poker hands — this is dead even. (I will lose this set.)

  3. There will be equal improvement. Both of us make a pair or will have an equal chance to hit one or two pair and an equal chance to make a straight or a flush. Again, there’s a 50/50 chance of equal improvement. (I will lose this set.)

  4. I will improve my poker hand (or not improve my hand) but you will improve your hand more than I do. This also has a 50/50 chance. (I will lose this set.)

So, returning to fourth grade arithmetic, the number of different sets of things that can happen is four and the chances of them happening are all equal. Thus, ¼ equals 25 percent of the time I will win with the inferior hand.

Oklahoma Johnny poker tip of the week

If you have AA or one of the top 15 starting poker hands when you are playing hold em’, you should always raise the pot before the flop.

Now the whippersnapper whiz kids will try to slow play and trap, but this will get you broke!

Yes, you are 3-1 or more to win the pot with the aces when playing against just one player but your chances decrease with each player that you permit to see the flop.

You must kill the blinds and /or the weak poker hands before the flop or they will kill you at the river.