Key Skills For Winning Poker - Mathematics
When a plumber attempts to fix your sink, he will not be very effective if he opens his tool box and finds only some pez dispensers and slinky. To do the job right, the plumber will need to have the proper tools for the job. Poker players may not come to the table with a big metal box filled with “Craftsmen” products, but to play winning poker you still need to bring some tools to the table.
A poker player’s toolkit is the skills that exist in that grey thing that resides between their ears. The game is far more then just luck; there are certain skills a player absolutely needs to have to even begin to play well.
First of all, come to the table with some basic math skills. This may be difficult if you are a product of the Detroit public school system, but this is a vital skill in the game of poker. You will need to be able to quickly figure out your general percentages. For example, calculating your chances of completing a flush draw on the flop or knowing what the probability is that the pair in your hand will be matched by a community card.
Math skills also come into play when counting your outs. As we all know, outs are the number of cards in the deck that can improve your hand. The way to figure out the percentage of hitting your hand is first count your outs. Multiply this number by two, and then add one. So if you have 7 outs, you have approximately a 15% chance of making your hand.
Knowing your outs is an act of futility unless you can use this information in a rational manner. Great, you know you have a 15% chance hitting, what now? Well, simply once you figure out your chance of hitting/winning, you divide the size of the pot at the last card (i.e. the current pot plus the amount of money that you think will be added through future bets) by the amount you have to put in. If you have a 15% chance of hitting and the bet to you is 50, if the pot at the river will be greater than 250, call. If not, fold.
Math skills are vital to good play. Flinging caution to the wind like a Frisbee without taking the time to figure things out in a rational manner will only cost you money.