Poker has elements of luck and gambling, but it also contains substantial skill. The higher the skill level, the better a player’s chances of winning over the long run of rounds and games. One of the skills involved is an understanding of probability and game theory. This article discusses some mathematical observations about the cards in a deck and the probabilities of different hands.
The probability that you will receive a particular card is based on the value of the other cards in your hand and on the board. For example, you have a pair of Aces and an 8 and the other cards in your hand are 5 and 3 – you can still get a flush. However, if the next card is a 4 and you have a 9 then the odds of getting a flush are lower.
Another way to think about probabilities is as a percentage. For example, a 40% chance of hitting a certain hand on the flop is a lot less than a 50% chance of making a certain hand on the river.
To help players calculate probabilities, I have developed an Erlang application that collects the cards dealt per round and sends win-lose percentages to the user for each match. The probabilities are recalculated at the end of each round and organized into Decision trees for easier viewing.