Poker is a skill game and you need to know how to play poker and use the ability to read opponents and situations to give you the advantage in each hand you play. It is also a game of mathematics where you have to calculate the odds of either you or your opponent will win the hand in the situation.
It is a very common question. It is possible to win the game without applying poker mathematics? It cannot be assumed that players who do not use mathematics will not be winning players. A sound knowledge of odds can improve your game and give you an advantage over the players that do not use them.
Mathematics can be used in different situations. They are commonly used when a player is on draw like a straight draw or flush. If your opponent makes a bet and you are on a draw, you need to make a decision whether you should call to try and complete the draw or fold and let the other player take the pot.
A player who has a good knowledge of mathematics will know whether to call or not while a player that has no knowledge of mathematics will be unsure. The player who are not familiar with poker odds will make an educated guess on to call or not. If the bet is large, he may feel that it is expensive to try and catch the right card but if the bet is small they will be inclined to call.
A player who is using mathematics correctly can work out the pot odds they are getting on the hand an act accordingly. The pot odds take into account the amount the opponent has bet in relation to the pot and the likelihood of completing draw to inform you about whether to call or fold.
There are some situations that incorporate mathematics more loosely but still incorporate them nonetheless. For example, you are on river holding bottom pair and the opponent bets $4 into $10, what should you do? If you don’t know whether the opponent has a better hand or not, you can use mathematics to determine you should call or not.
When using mathematics in poker, the key point you need to remember is the decision you make will not have effect in winnings in the short term. Just because the player works out the odds in a particular hand and makes the correct call, it doesn’t mean you will win the hand. It also doesn’t mean you have made the wrong decision if you lose your hand. If you just keep on making the right decision based on the odds, you will be making money in the long run. So just try not to let results in short term effect on you to make the correct plays.
Learning to use poker mathematics can be a difficult process at the beginning. But it is recommended that you keep trying. It helps to become a long term winning player. After some time, it will start to click and you will understand about pot odds ad expected value will be a lot easier.