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Misapplying Expected Value Calculations

A questionable play

by Matthew Hilger |  Published: Sep 18, 2009

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There is a long-standing argument in the poker world between the math guys and the instinct guys. I have always been a proponent of the math side, as every decision made in poker has an underlying mathematical foundation (whether you realize it or not). Of course, I also wrote a book called Texas Hold’em Odds and Probabilities, so I might be biased. Some instinct guys will say that you sometimes have to throw math out the window, but they are missing the point. If your instincts make you feel like your opponent is bluffing, you increase the probability that your opponent is bluffing in the mathematical calculation. If your instincts tell you that your opponent has the nuts, you increase the probability of this in the calculation. Many players don’t know that they are using math, but their instincts and experience lead them close to what the mathematical calculation would ...


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