The importance of math in poker

Dale Pinchot
2 min readJun 21, 2022

Poker is a game that involves math. You can use math to calculate the EV for multi-street play, or even figure out the pot size. Poker is also a psychological/social game. Tells, psychology, dynamics, and other factors all play a part in live and casino poker. The game is best viewed through a social lens. However, it’s just as important to be able to see the game mathematically. Balance is a key ingredient to being able to thrive at any table.

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

Most math-based players are aware of the importance of the social aspect of the game, but they tend to overlook much of the math. This is usually due to fear that math might be too complicated, too cumbersome, or even too geeky.

To be the best poker player possible, we must have both math and social skills. I urge you to give the math side of poker another chance if you have put off it for any reason. You can learn basic addition and multiplication. Poker math is not for you if you are terrible at math. I struggled with math in school and ended up taking statistics in college. I can still manage the math behind this game.

Both math and psychological skills are required.

Math is important because it provides objective answers to many poker questions. Questions like:

  • “What was my shove’s EV on the turn?”
  • “Did you have enough equity to face a half-pot wager?”
  • “How many times does my opponent have to fold here in order to make my bluff financially profitable?”

These questions have mathematical answers. Your intuition may not always lead to the right answer, but math will. Profits are made from having an edge, and the right partners.

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