Category Archives: Math and Odds

Primer on Bubble Play

Playing correctly on the bubble of a multi-table tournament, especially those with large fields, is imperative to achieving a high win rate. It’s a boring first sentence isn’t it? I already broke the cardinal rule of a short essay writer and gave you a boring first sentence and now I expect you to keep reading this whole article? Yes, I absolutely expect you to keep reading, because questions about how to play on the bubble are so frequent, and the answers are so important. The key to understanding correct bubble play is taking a step back from the immediate situation and looking at the tournament as a whole. We are all very aware of the fact that the money is in...
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ICM 101

One of the first things a serious tournament player learns is that his stack is rarely worth what it appears to be. With the advent of ICM calculators in recent years we can actually figure out what a stack is worth, and this allows us to figure out correct strategy in many situations where we only had an educated guess a few years ago. ICM is valuable because it allows us to see the difference between cash game situations and tournaments, where the payout structure has a significant effect on correct play. Let’s start with a quick explanation of how ICM works. ICM is short for Independent Chip Modeling, and it is based on the idea that the bigger your stack...
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Game Theory 101

The Importance of Game Theory in Poker There are a number of great players who claim to know very little or no poker theory at all. Most of these players have an intuitive understanding of the theory behind their plays, even if they haven’t read books on the topic. And while you could be a great player and make lots of money without understanding any solid theory, it’s very (VERY) tough to do and almost everyone without basic knowledge about the math and logic would make more money if they learned some theory. Bottom line – it will help you make money. Game Theory itself is a huge amount of knowledge, and much too large a subject to try and...
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The Rule of Two and Four

The simplest way to calculate odds in Texas holdem is by using the rule of two and four. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough in most cases and definitely the best way to know the odds quickly at the table. Here’s how the rule of two and four works.  On the flop, you can calculate the odds of making a draw by the river by multiplying the number of outs, or cards that will make your hand, by four. With only one card to come, whether you are on the turn, or on the flop but expecting your opponent to go all-in on the turn, you can estimate your odds of making your hand by multiplying your outs by two. So… If you have a flush draw,...
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Bankroll Management – The Straight Dope

There is a ton of information on managing a poker bankroll out there and most of it is a waste of time for the average player. I know, because I wrote a lot of it. I can write all day on bankroll management because I’m fascinated by the math involved, but as one of the acknowledged experts in the field I can assure you that this article will probably give you everything you need....
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