# Re: Sklansky's "Tournament Poker for Advance Players"

epeddy1 wrote:
Maybe I can get some support on the following statement. Maybe not. But
I'll try anyways.

I have my bachelor's degree in Mathematics, and someday plan on going further
and getting my Master's and PhD (there is not value in the Master's, PhD where
I'm at now. I only want them because I love to learn new theoretical
mathematics concepts, not for any professional reason.)

But anyways, many people give so much credit to the mathematicians playing
poker, such as Chris Ferguson and Sklansky, among others. Mathematics is
important in poker, don't get me wrong. But the mathematics needed to be a
successful poker player don't go much farther than basic statistics (EV,
variance, etc) and probability (odds). This can be taught in high school, or
even in an intro stats class in college. Now I can see how some topics in Game
Theory (this is for you Mr. Carson), and even some advanced statistical proofs
(such as the weak law of large numbers, which explains how the house always
wins, among other things described by "in the long run") can explain some
occurrences and successes in poker. However, it is not advantageous to know
these advanced topics if you want to be successful. Like I said, they don't do
much more than EXPLAIN the concepts in poker.

So to everyone playing poker who doesn't consider yourself a mathematician,
the advantages of being "math savvy" are nothing compared to the advantages of
understanding the value of a raise, knowing when you're beat, noticing your
opponents betting strategies, and knowing how to pull of a beautiful bluff. I'm
sure many of you know this, because some of you most likely have success and
have never heard of the weak law of large numbers, and probably don't know the
uses of the negative binomial distribution.

So if you think Sklansky knows poker simply because he can explain odds and
EV with perfection, you are wrong. I don't know much about Sklansky's poker
success (except for the fact that he hasn't been on TV much, which doesn't say a
lot, but says something), but his results are not related to his knowledge in
mathematics.
Same goes for Chris Ferguson. He is a good poker player because he is a
great strategist. The kind of skill that would surely make him an excellent
Monopoly player. So when Norman Chad or Chris Matthews are saying "Jesus will
make the right decision here because he's working out some complicated
mathematics," it's probably more correct for them to say "Jesus will make the
right decision here because he's one of the best at making the right decision."

I know I am making this long, but I heard something interesting that backs up
my statement during the '06 WSOP PPV event. During an interview with Chris
Ferguson, a viewer asked him about "folding equity." Mr. Math didn't even know
what he was talking about. If Jesus really did base his play on math, you'd
think he would have studied this topic vigorously, even if the result of his
study was to disprove its importance.

Bottom line: Mathematics in poker is overrated.

_______________________________________________________________
The Largest Online Poker Community - http://www.recpoker.com

"Poker Strategy", by Nesmith C. Ankeny, used game theory to present
a winning pot limit draw poker strategy, "Winning Poker Systems" by
Norman Zadeh used game theory to analyse limit draw poker and lowball.
Jim McManus's book "Positively Fifth Street" mentioned the program
"Loki" developed by Darse Billings at the University of Alberta, which
can beat about 95% of poker players at limit hold 'em. Expert poker
players do better, and I suspect it's because they are better able to
capitalize on the sub optimal playing mistakes of most players.

Having said that, I'd be perfectly happy to be able to play at that
top 5% level, and not worry about all the experts that could crush me.
I'd buy any game theory book put out by Chris Freguson in an instant.

Speaking of game theory books, I see that Sklansky has just put out
a new book on no limit hold 'em. Has anyone out there read it yet?
What did you think of the advice?
- A. McIntire

.

## Relevant Pages

• Re: Sklanskys "Tournament Poker for Advance Players"
... teaches them math". ... player that has been playing for 5 years probably knows the same math ... I have my bachelor's degree in Mathematics, and someday plan on going further ... poker, such as Chris Ferguson and Sklansky, among others. ...
(rec.gambling.poker)
• Re: Sklanskys "Tournament Poker for Advance Players"
... I have my bachelor's degree in Mathematics, ... poker, such as Chris Ferguson and Sklansky, among others. ... Can you even define for me what the mathematically optimum poker strategy ... Do you understand that if I play the Nash equilibrium strategy, ...
(rec.gambling.poker)
• Re: Gary Carsons greatest hits, part 1
... Cycle is a bad word. ... it is a mathematical fact that in a random sequence of events, ... absolutely nothing about poker, especially the mathematical theory of poker, ... for those of you who actually know something about the mathematics ...
(rec.gambling.poker)
• Re: Sklanskys
... :>: I have my bachelor's degree in Mathematics, ... :>: much more than EXPLAIN the concepts in poker. ... Can you define for me what a Nash equilibrium is? ... You are an obvious ignorant n00bie who thinks he knows something about poker ...
(rec.gambling.poker)
• Re: Sklanskys
... I've read your post on "optimal strategy" for poker. ... strategy" in a real life game. ... If you are right, and mathematics has the "supreme role" in poker, ... that makes a person a great poker player. ...
(rec.gambling.poker)