I have been working on mathematical paradoxes.

I am looking for paradoxical situations in Poker for a deep study. I found things, like Morton's Theorem, Implicit Collusion or "all in" strategy, could you help me to find more?

  • 1
    I'm not certain this type of question is a good fit for this site, although it is interesting! It could be a good jumping off point for generating some extra questions on poker.se. For that reason I hope you get some good answers ;)
    – Toby Booth
    Oct 29, 2015 at 0:20
  • A paradox is when one uses generally acceptable logic to, seemingly, soundly conclude something that is prima-facie illogical. Perhaps apply Zeno's paradox to pushing all in? Read out an equation that incorrectly subtracted, or divided as a story. Here is an example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_dollar_riddle
    – Snipe
    Dec 17, 2015 at 18:19
  • Probably a little bit late: Do situations where ICM advises you to fold aces in Holdem qualify?
    – Drunix
    Jul 19, 2016 at 6:12
  • Would you make a distinction between a paradox and something which is just highly counter-intuitive?
    – 3N1GM4
    Jan 5, 2017 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


Not sure if this is really a paradox, but...

In a heads-up game your opponent truthfully confides in you that he is playing a 100% range.

So you think to yourself, "Great, from now on I will play a 70% range and I will be profitable because I’m ahead of his range."

You are dealt a new hand and see that it is at the bottom of your range, but you no-longer want to play the hand because it is behind most of your opponents range.

  • Not seeing how 69% is behind a random hand (50%).
    – paparazzo
    May 4, 2018 at 14:13
  • @paparazzo because 69 > 50. Isn't that the definition of being behind?
    – Buh Buh
    May 4, 2018 at 14:25
  • Sure not my definition.
    – paparazzo
    May 4, 2018 at 14:27
  • I think we might be looking at it from opposite ends. I meant 69th percentile as in a low quality hand. Not a high quality. Perhaps I should have written it as 31st percentile? Does that help?
    – Buh Buh
    May 4, 2018 at 14:35
  • Playing the bottom of a 70% range is worse than playing the average of a 100% range
    – Buh Buh
    May 4, 2018 at 14:36

Not sure if this is a paradox as much as counter-intuitive, but according to Phil Gordon, a rare case of over-cards being a slight favorite to a pocket pair is JTs vs. 55.

  • 4
    That's just one example of the not-really-a-paradox of the non-transitive value of starting hands. Another is 22 > AK > JTs > 22. Jun 9, 2017 at 2:11
  • @LeeDanielCrocker :o could you send me a link regarding that? Sounds interesting. Apr 5, 2018 at 15:54
  • (haha sorry for the late! this question was bumped and I read it just now) Apr 5, 2018 at 15:55

Ace high straight is highest but it is actually easier to make because there are no blockers above.

To me this is a Best hand versus AA as every way I look at it it seems like 67s should be better.

  • How come AKQJT is easier to make than KQJT9? or indeed any other specified set of 5 different ranks?
    – Rosie F
    Jan 5, 2022 at 15:16

How almost all hands have at least a 33 percent chance of winning in a showdown against a pre-flop raiser. But yet they rarely actually win 33 percent of the time.


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