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The Mathematics Of Poker

Reviewing: Con Jel Co Publishing The Mathematics Of Poker  |  Rating:
By pdcd on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Other Entertainment Expertise:

The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman is a text that goes deep into the mathematical concepts behind poker games, including betting, raising, and the mathematically best way to play certain kind of hands given the various information you acquire during a hand. It primarily utilizes game theory and statstics to achieve its goal.

Bill Chen is a highly respected poker professional, World Series of Poker bracelet winner, and holds a Ph.D. in mathematics. The text reflects his advanced mathematical knowledge. Although it's not required to be great at math to understand it, it certainly helps. This is most certainly NOT a book for beginning players. In order to absorb and use the knowledge within, you should have a good understanding of the game already (even if you're not a winning player).

There are chapters on odds, hand reading, bankroll management, and tournament strategies. There are also chapters on more theoretical aspects, such as looking at simplified poker games and how basic strategies developed from mathematical reasoning apply to them. From there you can apply that to larger more complicated games.

So as to not alienate many readers, Chen does a good job of pointing out when some complex mathematics is coming up, and states that you can skip right to the bottom line if you want. That said, buying a book and skipping half of it to view the results without viewing the process seems kind of silly.

Overall this is a good book, and if you read it, understand it, and apply it you will be a better poker player. It's quite terse and mathematical though, so that may put many people off. I definitely think it's worth it though.