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There’s a pot at the end
of that equation!

Jul 13, 2004 2:40 AM

Last week I was talking to you about the math of poker and was telling you how easy it really is.

You’ve heard all your life the saying of poker — one that I am almost positive that you have heard many, many times — is never draw to an inside straight! (An inside straight draw is when holding a hand similar to this — cards of 4, 5, Q, 7, 8, and you need the 6 to complete your straight of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.)

Well, I have to tear down your life long belief that this was the correct thing to do.

So, the Oklahoma Johnny Poker Tip of the week is:

Always draw to an inside straight — when the odds are correct!

Just suppose this is the case. Now just remember the math there are four sixes in the deck and you have one time to catch it. Consider the following. If you are playing 10/20 stud and the pot holds $300 and you are positive that the other player has only one pair or so and that you have a good chance to win the pot, if you can hit the six, and it cost you $20 to draw for the card. You are getting 15 to 1 plus if you hit it more money will come into the pot in the final betting round.

If you have been watching the cards and you have not seen a six, but you have seen a total of 12 cards this means that there are 40 cards that are a mystery to you (deck of 52 minus 12 cards you know about equals 40 unknown cards). The odds now become 36-to-4 or 9-to-1 against you making the inside straight, but the pot is laying you 15-to-1 plus the extra implied odds if you catch the six.

Make the play or quit playing poker!

You are getting 15-to-1 and it cost you just 9-to-1. Now lets look at the numbers.

Make the draw nine times and you will hit it one out of nine, but expect to lose eight times: 8 x 20 = $160. But the one time you hit you receive $300 plus the extra bets.

So, can you see that you have a dead even bet to win $300 for a risk of $160? You are getting almost 2-to-1 on the money.

True, I set the conditions up to prove the point but in the game of Stud or Omaha or Hold’em Poker you will find many, many similar situations that will occur day after day during a poker game. Just watch for the opportunities and seize the moment and take the money on home.

Carol says that I have talked enough poker and it is time to go play some poker.

Remember to be happy and to STAY LUCKY!