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How to play poker

By: pianish @ 18:03 (EDT) / 210 / Comment ( 0 )

This blog is my submission to the Blogger Championship on Pokerstars Poker School Online contest, seen here

Statistics is the most important aspect of playing poker. Understanding the probability of an event occuring is key to being a winning player. But if you are like me, you know math is hard. This blog post will help you learn the most important skill in poker easily, by learning how to visualize poker statistics.

What you will need
2 coins 
1 standard 6 sided dice

The coin flip
The coin flip is the most common case you will be in (pocket pairs vs. two over cards. But have you ever just flipped a coin just to see what would happen. I just flipped one of my Loonies (yes, I am Canadian) 5 times. I got Tails, Tails, Tails, Heads, Tails. If this was a poker match, losing 4/5 flips would have crippled me. This isn't the Poker software being rigged, either. This is a standard coin and I just got on the wrong side of variance.

The 1/4
You have AKo, and are all in against someone who had AJo. Sweet. But what does that actually mean. You technically have a 1/4 chance of winning. That means that if you flip 2 coins, the odds of winning are around the same as getting at least one heads (two heads or one heads one tails). You will quickly realize that you won't flip the winner every time.

The dice roll
You have the rockets (AhAd) and your opponent flips over KdQd. You are in way ahead, but the odds of villain winning are still 1/6, which means if you were to roll a standard dice, where rolling a 6 equals a loss, this isn't loss-proof. In fact, this is why there are so many people who think Poker sites are rigged, because they fail to realize how often you can roll a 6 really happens in the real world.


Hopefully this lesson will help you reevaluate the value of different hands that you play. You can use these tricks, and other tools at your disposal, to figure out visually what the odds of different situations are, and hopefully make better decisions when you realize how valuable (or invaluable) situations are based on the probabilities that are in the real world.

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