Poker is a
family affair

Mar 6, 2006 2:49 AM

I am asked many times: Carol, who are you?

And most of the time, I just say, "Oh, she is the boss and I am her boy toy!" Another common reply is, "Carol is the mother of Oklahoma Sarah."

But I should say that she is the founder and owner of Nanny’s & Granny’s, a 25-year-old Las Vegas childcare agency; the founder and owner of a nanny training school; the owner of an employment agency and the president of The Seniors Charities.

Moreover, Carol is a very good poker player and helped me create The Seniors World Championship of Poker (WCOP) many years ago and she is the historian of and member of The Seniors WCOP/ Poker Players Hall of Fame.

In my last column here in GamingToday I promised the folks to publish one of Carol’s poker lessons that she presented to her poker class up at the Canyon Gate County Club here in Las Vegas.

So, here it is, Carol’s first lesson to novice poker players.

Poker Math I

The Bad News: Poker is a very mathematical game.

The Good News: The math is pretty simple and if you can do 5th grade math you will be able to play well enough to win.

Fact 1: There are 52 cards in the deck.

Fact 2: There are 4 suits in the deck, 13 cards in each suit. Unlike bridge, suits do not count. In other words all four aces are of equal value.

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

1. What is the probability of randomly drawing the ace of spades on the very first try?

Answer: 1/52 or expressed as a ratio 51:1. There are 52 cards in the deck and only one of these cards is the ace of spades. So your chances of drawing the Ace of spades is one and your chances of drawing one of the other cards is 51.

What this means is that in exactly 1 out of 52 draws you should draw the ace of spades.

2. How does this relate to betting?

Answer: If you wanted to bet on this proposition you should be paid 51-1 just to break even. This means that your bet would be structured loosely like this: Hey, I will randomly draw a card and if I draw the ace of spades you pay me $51 and if I do not draw the ace of spades I will pay you $1.

Now, who in the heck wants to break even? I sure don’t and you shouldn’t either. So what you would look for is an individual who does not understand this math and you would try to persuade this individual to pay you 52-1 or 53-1 or if they are really dumb, 60-1.

This is the essence of playing winning poker and what I will be trying to teach you over the course of the next few lessons.

3. What is the probability of drawing any ace on one try?

Answer: There are four aces in the deck. There are 48 other cards. Expressed in a ratio this is 48:4. If you reduce this number to lowest terms this is 12:1. So the probability of drawing any one of the four aces is 12-1.

4. If I have drawn an ace, what is the probability of pairing that ace on the next card?

Answer: You have one ace. This means there are three aces left in the deck. There are 51 cards left in the deck. So the probability of drawing that second ace is 51/3. Expressed as a ratio this is 48:3 Divide the 3 into 51 and you get 17 so expressed as a ratio the odds of drawing that second ace is 17-1.

5. What are the odds of drawing a diamond from a full 52 card deck on the first try?

Answer: There are 13 diamonds in a deck of 52, so there are 39 other cards that are clubs (13) hearts (13) and spades (13).

So, the odds are 13-to-39 that you will draw that diamond on your first try or reduced to 1-to-3. See, playing winning poker is just simple 5th grade math, and you can do this!

6. Test Question: What are the odds of drawing the fourth ace on the next card if you have already drawn three aces in your first three tries?

Email my husband OK-J the answer at [email protected] and I will have him mail you a copy of his book, "The Gentleman Gambler."

Carol’s lesson goes on and on; she is a very good, detailed teacher If you would like more of her lessons, email me and I will see if she wants me to print anymore of her lesson plans.

Oklahoma Johnny Poker Tip of the Week

Abraham (ca. 2100-1500 B.C.) was the father of faith for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Homer (ca. 9th-8th centuries B.C.) was the father of epic poetry.

Herodotus (5th century B.C.) was known as the father of history.

G.N. Hale (1890-1945) was my father and he created the first ever poker tournament (Depression Poker).

Dad told me many things about life and poker, how to win and how to be brave and how to be a man and to always do the right thing.

One of the most important things that he told me about poker was, "Raise the pot at every opportunity," and that if the hand was good enough to call with consider raising and that if I did raise instead of just call, I would win larger pots most of the time!

Then I could take the money home and count it there.

Until next time, remember to stay lucky.