Everywhere you visit, both online and live, players will tell you math is an important part of poker. Most players say it even though they don’t know why it’s relevant or necessary. It’s a little silly isn’t it? This is especially true when you see players professing to play position and hand selection yet you catch them playing king five from early position. Today, I’m going to lay out a couple of reasons why math is important for playing online poker well.
You need to know about relative hand strength
Hand selection is basically about knowing or guessing what hands are likely to be profitable for you in specific situations. That sounds more confusing than it really is. Just think about where you are on the table and whether that hand is likely to make you money in the long run.
So, if you’re in early position with ace four off suit, will that make money? Very unlikely. What about seven eight suited on the button if it’s folded to you? That will almost certainly increase your win rate. See how some basic maths can help you?
If hand selection is a challenge for you, I recommend you download a poker cheat sheet. Most of them have tips on what hands to play. You can usually download them for free. They’re well written and authored by major poker training sites that give them to their students.
You must know & be able to work out your “outs”
Calculating outs is an important part of poker. After all, you need to know the number of cards that will give you the best hand.
A simple way of working it out is remembering how many cards are in the deck that can give you the winner, then multiply 2x by number of opportunities to get there. So, on the flop to the river, you get two peels, so multiple your outs by 4. If you have one peel i.e. turn to river, you double your outs. This quick calculation gives you an estimated percentage of how often you will hit.
Basically, if you’re trying to make a set by the river with your pocket pair, you have around 8% (2 outs multiplied by 4). If you have a flush draw you have 36% with two cards to come ( 9 outs multiplied by 4). See? Simples… Now you will be on your way to playing online poker like a professional.
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