August 25, 2020

7 gems of poker magic (or at least math)

I've always enjoyed the game of poker. And I've always loved math. But it is not until recently[1] I have begun to combine the two much. Doing this, I did not really find a simple tutorial suited for me (what I found was either way too basic, way too advanced or did not read really well). I also use the word tutorial for what I was looking for on purpose, even when I am trying to explain math concepts, I hope to do so in a very practical way.

For some of you this set of articles is still going to be too basic, but I also have an ambition to come back with some more advanced pieces later (for instance covering stuff I am discovering when playing around with poker bots and lately reading the old, but still good, Mathematics of Poker book), given I reach that level and also given that I find the time.

Anyway, on to what my so called 7 gems of poker math will cover:

- Basic poker probabilities
- Pot odds
- Open or not - do I have the best hand from this position?
- Implied odds and EV estimation
- Counting combos
- Basic and badass understanding of blockers
- Balance and board coverage

All the content will be for NLH (No Limit Texas Hold'em). I will not explain core poker rules or basic probabilities in the articles, but I will go through the example step by step with a certain degree of hand-holding (no pun intended). I hope I got the balance right and that some of you will enjoy it. For sure it will be a useful exercise for me to structure my thoughts enough to write out the pieces.

Hope this proves useful for someone, please shout out if you have comments or other feedback.

[1] - Well, this set of articles have been in a rough draft state for about five years, so it has been a little while now (and in fact other books have inspired my game more than the good old MoP mentioned above, but I decided to keep it and rather write a separate post on books later). Inspired by making day 2 of the WSOP Main Event at GG yesterday (after double-satelliting in, first USD50 into a USD500 satellite and then from the latter into the actual event), I decided that it would be better to get it out rather than waiting to find time to make it "so, so much better". So here it is!

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