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Poker Math

Playing poker on intuition is half the battle, but all players need to learn poker math for a complete winning arsenal in the mental war to learn how to play poker.  Most poker math formulas require little more than the basics (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication) and often times will not need to be exact.   Estimation is your friend.    

Poker Math TopicLevel
Pot Odds Beginner
Poker Rake Beginner
Expected Value Intermediate
Implied Odds Intermediate
Poker Equity Intermediate
Drawing Hands Intermediate
Calculating EV Advanced
Reverse Implied Odds Advanced
Fold Equity Advanced
G-Bucks Advanced

Basic Poker Math

Pot Odds

Pot odds are the price you are getting if you call a bet. For example if there is $100 in the pot and your opponent bets $50, you will need to call $50 to win $150.  To simplify the numbers you would say you are getting pot odds of 3-1.  Pot odds are helpful in drawing situations.

Poker Rake

Rake in poker is how the poker sites and casinos make money.  All poker rooms will charge different amounts, so it is best to look at the rake schedule before deciding on a room. Some rake can be so much that it turns a profitable game into a non-profitable game.

 Enjoy the lowest rake in the online poker industry at PokerStars.

Intermediate Poker Math

Expected Value

Expected Value in poker is the amount of money you will win in the long run.  If there is $100 in the pot and you will win 70% of the time, you can expect to win $70 out of every pot on average.  When you have positive expected value, you are making money regardless out of the outcome, the reverse is true when you have negative expected value.

Implied Odds

Implied odds is your potential profit if you make a hand that your opponent will pay you off with. The classic example is calling with a small pocket pair 2♣ 2♥ against a player who you know has a big pair A♠ A♣.  If you flop a set you could win a large pot, making up for the times you have to fold and lose your initial bet.

Poker Equity

Poker Equity can be measured in a few different ways, most commonly how often your hand will fare against your opponent's hand.  Equity can be altered by actions you or your opponent take as well as by basic hand strength.  Equity is also an important factor in drawing hands.

Drawing Hands

Drawing hands are when you are trying to complete a strong winning poker hand, most commonly a straight of a flush.  Playing draws for a profit require a lot of thought based on several factors including how obvious your hand is, plus your opponent's temperament.  All draws are not created equal, thus each one has to be played differently.

Advanced Poker Math

Calculating EV

Calculating EV is the process of figuring out your expected value for any given situation at the tables.  Some EV calculations are simple, such as checking by itself has no EV.  Other calculations have complicated EV formulas which become complicated depending on your opponent's hand range.

Reverse Implied Odds

If implied odds are the chances of winning a big pot for a small investment, reverse implied odds are the chance of lost a big pot for a small investment. A classic example of this is playing a weak ace such as A♣ 3♠.  If the flop comes A♦ 6♥ 9♠ and bet out you will probably only get called by a hand that is beating you such as A♥ Q♣.

Fold Equity

Fold equity is the percentage of the time you can force your opponent to fold by betting.  You may only be able to win in a showdown 40% of the time but with the right bet at the right time you could increase your equity to over 50%.


G-Bucks is a poker math formula created by Phil Galfond, which is an improvement on a concept called "SklanskyDollars".  SklanskyDollars takes your hand and calculates the equity against your opponent's hand. G-Bucks will calculate all possible holdings along with how often we expect the villain to have each possible holding.

 Take a pure math approach on anonymous poker tables at Bovada.