It is the goal of this book to assist the reader in understanding the concepts of betting decisions, expected
value, poker odds, and pot odds with clear explanations, examples, and all the needed mathematics to
back up those decisions.
This book is not a textbook in the traditional sense, but instead it presents the fundamentals of the basics
of the game. However, you may find that it has the look and feel of a textbook.
A motivated reader, using some logical thinking and having only a course in high school Pre-Algebra,
would have more than enough background in math to follow and appreciate the discussions and
development of the topics presented throughout. Readers already familiar with some of the mathematics
of probability may wish to browse the first five chapters and focus on Chapter 6 and those that follow.
Viewed mathematically, a deck of cards is a two-dimensional array, that is, suits by ranks (4 x 13). Exploring
combinations of cards requires a little more explanation than one needs when working with a linear array or
a one-dimensional list of objects. The treatment developed here addresses this difference and will lead the reader
through the necessary calculations.
In almost every section in each chapter the methods of counting hand types and finding the probabilities of dealing
specific cards are fully developed. Separate chapters cover the opening round, the Flop, the Turn, the River,
mathematical expectation, and odds.
In addition, not only will you will find the development of the probabilities of the hands a player might have, but also,
probabilities that at least one of a player’s possible opponents, from one to nine, might have.
Numerous illustrations, graphs, charts, and tables augment the discussions. The problem sets in most sections ask
(and solve) questions of interest for any serious player. Be sure to read the problems and their solutions, as many of the
concepts and ideas are explored further in the problem sets. The interested reader can try their own hand at solving
some of the posed problems. They are accompanied by annotated solutions that are designed to strengthen and extend
the reader’s understanding.
Most poker books delve deeply into various strategies for playing the game (and most of those do an admirable job of it.);
However, most of them have modest or little information about the mathematics of the game (with a few exceptions.)
The basic strategies and tactics of play are presented here in a general way to get the reader started. For more
information, there are excellent books by experienced and professional players explaining their strategies and tactics
for playing poker; some of these are listed at the end of Chapter 12.
I wish to thank Deke Castleman, Senior Editor of Huntington Press, for his encouragement and advice in the publishing
process of this work. However, any issues with the content or presentation are my full responsibility.
Thank you, the reader, for considering this book.
Thomas M. Green Sept. 2010 Concord, CA
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