Do good players actually do mental calculations of EV, odds, etc. of their hands during games, or is this kind of thing mostly just done when reviewing games after play has finished?

The reason I'm asking is because it seems really hard to do all these mental calculations while still paying attention to other peoples' playstyles, behavior, etc. Is it just something that will come with practice, or what?


It is somewhat crucial to do this as you're playing.

I am asuming that you are somewhat new to poker.

Under this circumstances those will be your basics for decision making. You should always check for the math before considering taking other steps in the hand.

If you can't say if you're move will be +EV or -EV, how would you be able to make profitable decisions at all. Poker is all about making the best decisio

If you play more and more hands and the same situations do occure again and again you will get a feeling for this and will be able to do the math in less than a second.

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  • Yes, I've just started playing in microstakes today. Thanks for the answer! But, one more thing: How do I learn to actually do the calculations themselves (i.e. the formulas for odds and stuff)? Is there a resource/website that you can recommend? – Guest May 28 '15 at 8:00
  • you're welcome. if you're new to hold'em try keeping focus on one topic at a time: e.g. what hands should i start from what position at the start. set yourself a goal for the session and try to reach this particular goal. learning all at once could be very overwhelming. if you've learned what you wanted move on to the next goal – lance May 28 '15 at 8:02
  • there once was a video series about the mathematics of poker on deucescracked.com which was free. but i think this isn't the case anymore. this training site now costs money and i wouldn't recommend paying for your education on this kind of level. you might have a look on this thread: cardschat.com/odds-for-dummies.php to get started. – lance May 28 '15 at 8:08
  • @Guest, most non-professional (and even many pros actually) players don't do these calculations on-the-fly, as they aren't the easiest ones to do. EV calculation involves things like winning chance which you can't find unless you run thousands of simulations using a tool like Pokerstove. What you can do, though, is encountering the same situations again and again, until you know when you have to call and still be EV+ – user1165 May 28 '15 at 8:22
  • Odds of winning against a particular hand are not hard to calculate. Odds of winning a range of hands is much more difficult, but can be easily done if you're drawing for the nuts (or what would practically be the nuts), since you don't have to take into account opponent's hands at all. This is when calculations should always be done, even by amateurs. The simplest formula recommended to beginners is count the number of outs, then x2.2-2.5% to get the probability that you complete the draw in one more card, then compare with cost of calling as proportion of pot size. – Yang May 29 '15 at 18:11

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