UK Poker Player Blog Posts & Reports POKER and the ACADEMIA


Posted by David Cowell on July 20, 2010 at 12:19 GMT

Sounds a little highbrow doesn’t it? don’t worry it isn’t. It is just a look at the way the academics try to analyze everything including card games.

For many, many years various disciplines of the academia have been trying to find what it is that drives human beings to participate in various types of games/sports.

I have read some articles by psychologists on this subject, they will tell you it all relates back to the days of competing for food or a mate, how it relates to survival and the desire to succeed, they could well be right, but with regards to poker it boils down to the following, poker is a great game, it is a companionable game, it is a game where you are always trying to better yourself and it is a game where you could actually win some money.

Mathematicians have dissected all types of card games to tell us why we should play in a particular way, they will tell you how the dynamics of the game can change when the number of players falls from say 10 down to 8, how it is possible to use a formula to find out all you need to know about the statistical chance of your hand compared to another? do you have the time to do it whilst playing? and what’s more do you really care if your chance of winning a hand just went up by 0.015%? Not many will.

They will also, no doubt, tell you what happens when the unknown quantity of luck is factored into the equation, and luck does play a large part in poker, you need luck to get the cards in the first place, once you have them, how best to play them, is this a matter for the statisticians to analyze? or is it better for you to just play the hand as best you can, after all you are actually sitting at the poker table, not at a desk remote from all the action!

If all the maths and the psychology do really do make you a good poker player, why can’t the mathematician or the psychologist win every hand they play?

Many people of all ages and abilities play poker, some of them may well think it is a psychological process, some may think it is a mathematical process. But in general they all play to meet the same ends, winning and money. so please, please, do not analyze the fun out of the game, leave it alone, everything in life is subjected to in depth analysis, let us have fun playing poker, goodness knows there is not much in the way of fun these days, and we ordinary plebs playing in ignorance deserve some fun!

Analyze what you will but have fun also, take the element of fun from the game and we are left with a pretty boring job!