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Playing poker without math

    • cbucsan
      Joined: 08.10.2009 Posts: 55
      Hello everyone,

      I have been reading about +EV and -EV plays all over this forum and about Implied Odds and ICM. I hate math...why do I hate it ? Because I suck at it...always have and probably always will...

      I read the concepts above and I understand the idea but applying them while playing online...well that's a whole different thing as IMO you gotta be a freakin human calculator to go through all the possibilities in 15 - 25 seconds aloud for acting.

      I can barely go through the thought process in that def no time to calculate EV or implied odds.

      So i was curious about 2 things :

      1. How the f... do you manage all that crap especially multi-tablers ?

      2. Are there any winning poker players that don't use the above in their play ?

      I know poker is about probabilities and math helps you determine those things but still if in online poker math is the only way you become a winning player then i'm ready to sign my resignation.


  • 6 replies
    • Wriggers
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Start off using the simple rules, such as the Call20 rule and the rules of 2 and 4.

      I'm assuming you've heard the Call20 rule, but i've forgotten if the rules of 2 and 4 are on the strategy articles. I find they really helped me. Basically if you're on the flop and you've got a flush draw, what you do is count the number of outs you have (8 or 9 depending on if it's 2 to a flush or 3 to a flush) then you multiply it by 4 if you can see the remaining two cards (Turn and River). This gives you an estimate of your chances of hitting the flush, so ~35%, so then it's pretty easy to see if you have the odds to call. You use the rule of 2 if you can only see one remaining card (For example if you are on the Turn). This gives you the chances of hitting that flush (~18%).

      These basic rules sorted me out pretty well :)
    • cbucsan
      Joined: 08.10.2009 Posts: 55
      Thanks Wriggers but I got the Pot odds...i just devide the remaining cards by my outs and compare what i have to call to stay in the pot.

      My big issue is ICM and EV and Implied odds...which i think I would handle with some exercise but the other 2 i don't think I would be able to go through in 25 seconds ...not even to save my life.
    • EmanuelC16
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,909
      ICM is for tourneys and you can practice it in ICM Trainer. You can also use SNG Wiz for analyzing different situations.

      For EV you should search for hasenbraten's video. He explains it pretty well imo.

      Here is part 1:
    • Joronamo
      Joined: 17.10.2008 Posts: 649
      Interesting thread.

      Firstly you should download PokerStove its a free and legal poker calculator.

      Secondly, Im no mathematician either but I have learnt the very basics to help me play the game. IMplied odds, pot odds (just logic), bets in relation to pot and stack size, call20 rule etc.
    • gadget51
      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      I can do math but I'm a lazy sod most days.
      I play cash mostly, but only micro and use most of the basic stuff.
      I also get a 'feeling' about a table and/or players which I use a lot. I get a feeling for how a player thinks about their [or my] hand/situation by their betting and timing and player type, postion etc; and if they change suddenly what does that mean...and so on. Works well for me at the mini levels but has taken me 2 yrs to get there.

      I think the way to go to understand all that stuff is to take the advice mentioned above and get PokerStove; ICM Trainer etc and practice a LOT with them. I suspect quite a few players having done so also get a 'feel' for a situation, even if they don't know, or haven't got time to work out the 'exact' math for it. I could of course be wrong's just a feeling. :)
    • andreibalint
      Joined: 11.04.2009 Posts: 872
      I would go ahead and say that at micro limits you don't need that much math to beat the games. Probably also true for low limits (i'm talking about SNG's here).

      A few guidelines:

      - if you're unsure what to do early in a tournament fold, if unsure late push all in (Moshman);

      - if unsure if you have odds to call try to figure out if you have implied odds ( big stacks, loose and very agressive/passive opponents, high went to showdown, things like these);

      - on drawing hands the more opponents in the hand the better;

      - practice with ICM trainer of course since you don't need to calculate anything, you just learn from examples;

      - great help is to know what hands are better then average or on the average so you can make comparisons with them. Like you're bb sb pushes you have K2o with 5BB. That's a little over average so if he's pushing any 2 you can call. If he's not pushing any 2 you go a little up on the kicker;

      - try to get a hang of bubble factors and estimate them to the best of your knowledge. Again the K2o example with 5BB. sb open shoves you have to call 4BB and it's 6BB in the pot. You have 1.5:1 odds so if you're not on the bubble chances are the bubble factor is <=1.5. So you need a hand of the same strenght as his to make this play profitable.

      From the last point you can deduce that with under 5BB you need a hand slightly worse than his to call profitably. Oh, and i hope you know that with 2:1 pot odds you can call almost any 2.

      - you can also learn some basic odds like chances of making a flush or a straight. I know the percentages but i generally don't have time to compare them with the pot odds. So when unsure i evaluate other things like how deep i am (if i'm short i would rather conserve my stack if the situation is marginal), how close to the bubble i am (same thing). Good luck!