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Practical Probability — Part XII

You need only one of two chances

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Jul 10, 2009


In my last column, I left you with some probability problems that involve calculating the chance that either (or both) of two events will result in a certain outcome. I recommended using a sequential method for this type of problem. First you calculate the possibilities for the first event. Then, do the calculations for the second event, given that the key outcome did not already occur in the first event. This sequential method often works well for poker problems. Here are the problems that you were asked to solve (this is technically called calculating the union of two events): Calculate only the possibility that your opponent hits a flush in problem No. 1 or quads in problem No. 2. Don’t worry about other ways that these hands might be won or lost. The easiest approach is: (a) Figure out the percentage of the time that an out hits on the ...

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