The Science of Poker

Published On August 25, 2016 | By Jaqub Hadden | Poker

While some gambling games like roulette are luck-determined, it would be outright incorrect to assume that there is no skill involved in the gambling whatsoever. The perfect example of this is poker, which is more concerned with reading other people than counting or combining cards. In fact, some would go as far as to compare poker to science. Their main argument is that, if people want to become good at poker, they need to master several important skills, most of them being scientific disciplines.

Basic Psychology

Bluffing is one of the most valued skills in poker, since you can win a game by relying on it alone. In fact, some people are so good at bluffing that they can amass a fortune, while only being forced to show their hand several times. However, concealing your thoughts while all the other players are trying to figure you out requires an impressive knowledge of psychology. Furthermore, this discipline may also help you notice if people around you are telling the truth. A person who lies has a particular pattern of behavior, like avoiding eye contact, making emotional gestures too often or their words and their body language not adding up.



At the bottom line, cards are always a numbers game and, even if the rules are simple, being good at math sure helps. By understanding the laws of probability, you can make your estimations of other people’s hands based on various factors. For example, taking into consideration your own hand, cards on the table and the number of people still in the game (vs. those that folded) you can make a pretty accurate assessment of the situation. In cases where you play on the internet, math is the only thing you can rely on. Take, for instance, a situation where you play in the best Australian online casino. On the internet, you won’t be able to see people’s faces, but their cards will still be there.


Finally, you can always count on experience to take you out of the hotspot. When people say “gut feeling” they usually think of this intuition as something mystical and inexplicable. However, even this can be scientifically explained. Namely, after playing hundreds and thousands of games, you subconsciously start recognizing certain behavior patterns. Strong emotions like the thrill of winning or losing create strong mental images that get stuck in your mind forever, even if you can’t consciously remember them. A person playing against you right now may remind you of that guy you once played against, scratched his nose in the same way whenever he bluffed. In this case, the chances are that this person will be doing the same thing.



Unfortunately, every science recognizes a margin of error. Against all odds, your opponent may have great cards and the aforementioned guy might just have an itchy nose- completely unrelated to his hole cards. Nonetheless, gambling is all about the odds and having these few skills in your arsenal improves them greatly. Some people make a living of poker, while the myriad of others lose everything they have in this very same way. This isn’t a coincidence and it definitely isn’t luck.


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