Luck, Odds And The Game Of Poker
Sunday, 18. December 2011

Many poker players, especially beginners, believe that luck has a lot to do with poker winnings. It is certainly true that luck has something to do with the cards that are dealt; however, the name of the game is really statistical probability.

Statistical probability plays a critical role in the game of poker and without at least a basic understanding of the mathematics behind the game, a player simply cannot be successful or even competitive. The following is a list of the odds of a player hitting poker hands with a 5 card hand without the opportunity to discard cards:

* Your odds of having a royal flush are roughly 1 in 650 000.
* Your odds of having a straight flush are roughly 1 in 72 000.
* Your odds of having a four of a kind are roughly 1 in 4 200.
* Your odds of having a full house are roughly 1 in 700.
* Your odds of having a flush are roughly 1 in 510.
* Your odds of having a straight are roughly 1 in 250.
* Your odds of having a three of a kind are roughly 1 in 48.
* Your odds of having a two pair are roughly 1 in 21.
* Your odds of having a one pair are roughly 1 in 2.4.
* Your odds of having a high card are roughly 1 in 2.

If you are dealt seven cards with no chance of discarding and drawing new ones, your chances are slightly better:

* Your odds of having a royal flush are roughly 0.0002%
* Your odds of having a straight flush are roughly 0.0012%
* Your odds of having a four of a kind are roughly 0.0240%
* Your odds of having a full house are roughly 0.1441%
* Your odds of having a flush are roughly 0.1967%
* Your odds of having a straight are roughly 0.3532%.
* Your odds of having a three of a kind are roughly 2.21128%.
* Your odds of having a two pair are roughly 4.7539%
* Your odds of having a one pair are roughly 42.2569%.
* Your odds of having a high card are roughly 50.1570%.

To improve their odds, some poker players have a wide variety of poker night rituals and superstitious good luck charms to help them win. Some companies even sell lucky charms and good luck products to would-be card sharks. However, skilled players know that despite the odds, luck does not really have as much to do with poker as skill does.

Most experts agree that luck only plays a part in winning. Of course, if a new player beats the odds and is dealt a royal flush, then everyone else at the table is clearly out of luck. However, since the chances of this happening are so remote, skill is what decides almost all card games, not just luck. Most poker players who are considered “lucky” because they win round after round in fact do a few simple things consistently. If you do the following, other players will see you as naturally “lucky,” too even though you will be relying on smarts not superstition to win:

* So-called lucky players learn the game well and practice a lot to become good at poker.
* So-called lucky poker players play good hands and simply fold when they are dealt cards that are not likely to win.
* So-called lucky poker players bluff from time to time to ensure that they are not too predictable.
* So-called lucky players calculate the pot odds and their chances of winning to make rational decisions about betting.
* So-called lucky players only play money they can comfortably afford to lose.

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