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Old 10-10-2008, 05:42 AM   #1
SasukeChidori
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Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Anyone read this book before? This book is very complicated with a lot of math. I can read it and understand it if I want to, but it is going to take a lot of time. Should I spend the time to do it? Is it worth it?
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Quote:
Originally Posted by SasukeChidori View Post
Anyone read this book before? This book is very complicated with a lot of math. I can read it and understand it if I want to, but it is going to take a lot of time. Should I spend the time to do it? Is it worth it?
Nobody can answer this question without knowing more about you and what kind of games you play. Are you an inexperienced micro limit player? If so, there are a bunch of other books that will be of much higher value to you at this stage. If you are an experienced player who's done a fair bit of reading and thinking about the game, sure this book could help you if you're capable of grasping the math in it.

Overall, the book was well received by most reviewers and players but it sure is no beginners' book.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:36 AM   #3
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

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Originally Posted by Ultrazound View Post
Nobody can answer this question without knowing more about you and what kind of games you play. Are you an inexperienced micro limit player? If so, there are a bunch of other books that will be of much higher value to you at this stage. If you are an experienced player who's done a fair bit of reading and thinking about the game, sure this book could help you if you're capable of grasping the math in it.

Overall, the book was well received by most reviewers and players but it sure is no beginners' book.
I see. No, I don't think this book is for me at this point then. Thanks
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:31 PM   #4
Shan
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I have this book but dont feel I am ready to read it yet (or anytime soon)

I get a headache just trying to follow the calculations
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:25 PM   #5
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

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Originally Posted by SasukeChidori View Post
This book is very complicated with a lot of math.
QFT
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:56 PM   #6
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

The book is pretty much really hardcore. Its a math book. It has some insights, but there's much sweat in gleaning them, although they do provide some summaries. If you're not a math person to begin with, I cant see it being too helpful. There are so many other good books, I think Harrington's books, both cash and tourney, are the best right now.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:50 AM   #7
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

this looks like an amazing book (no sarcasm). so far it's mostly worked well as a paper weight for me. but that's my fault............ anyway, what i've read of it makes me think it's incredibly good.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:40 PM   #8
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Can anyone who's read the book give me some insight as for what games specifically this book is targeted? I'm a NLHE MTTer and wouldn't mind a solid, in-depth read on the mathematics of poker. Basically, I'm asking if it's worth it for me to get this book if I'm not a cash game player.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Hi FT Bound,

The book will help you if you are a tournament player, but how much I'm not sure. The problem I have is that they go into great mathematical detail about plays that are pretty much common knowledge to good players anyway.

For example, with 10 or so BB left in a tourney it is mathematically correct to shove with an incredibly wide range from the button with just the blinds to act. They also conclude that getting it all in on the flop with averagely deep stacks with a flush draw is also a good play. The thing is, I didn't need to read through tons of equations to pick up these points.

Don't get me wrong, it is an excellent book. However, you have to WANT to understand the maths to get something out of it. It will certainly make you think about your game which is always a sign of a good book but be prepared for some tough reading too.

EDIT: To answer your question, it is applicable to NL holdem in general, but there is a section towards the end of the book with tournament specifics. I must admit, I haven't actually read this part yet as I play cash games only.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Thank you sir. Snap ordering that as we speak.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

We have a nice deal on "B" stock ones here:
http://www.conjelcostore.com/conjelc...&productID=120
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:29 PM   #12
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Incredible book - you can skim the formulae and digest the conclusions.

the game theory sections are harder to grasp - the exploitative play sections are easier and excellent.

If anything it's more suited to tournaments than cash games.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:30 PM   #13
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

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Thank you sir. Snap ordering that as we speak.
Me too! Someone told me he's amazing.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:17 AM   #14
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Sorry to hijack the thread, but can anyone who has read and understands the book help me with the last part of chapter 20? I'm trying to figure out how equity and implied odds effect optimal bluffing and folding ratios with 1 card to come. They give an answer to example 20.5, but I don't understand how they got to that answer as I never did algebra. On previous parts of the book if I didn't understand the math I still felt like I understood the concept.

If anyone can help me I am a winning online 10/20 15/30 6 max player who can offer coaching, or if you prefer I can pay you to coach me to understand how to read and create equations like that. Or if anyone wants to recommend a math book or something, please share.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:58 PM   #15
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I highlighted all over it & use to impress people making them think I actually understand all of the stuff in there.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:33 AM   #16
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I'd be interested in trading Maths coaching for Poker coaching... I'm a marginally winning uNL FR player (NL25 atm) with a Ph.D. in Maths and teaching experience, both high school and college... I will have a look at that example 20.5 and see if I can help.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:50 PM   #17
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Does anyone have links to the stuff Chen and Ankeman wrote on RGP?
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:00 AM   #18
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I have not read the book and I am planning to read it at some point. I think that when you have a sound understanding of the mechanic and psychologic aspect of poker and can perform the basic math required (pot odds, implied, drawing odds...) then reading and understanding this book will help you understand the math behind an almost perfect poker decision. When I will be ready, I will hire a math student (trade for poker course) to help me go through that book. When I will have gone through it from cover to cover and understand it, than I guess it might give me another perspective on poker at that point.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:40 PM   #19
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Imo this book is not very useful for most practical players. To draw practical conclusions from it one need to do a lot of work.
I do think however that this book is one the best out there. Even if you are not passionate about poker theory you will find a lot of good info about bankroll management and reading hands. The chapter about bayes theorem and adjusting your assumptions based on scarce evidence is fantastic even for not math oriented individuals.
So if you are interested only in the "how" you should probably stick to your cr/leggo/deucescracked/stox/bluepoker (or whatever) membership. If you are at least a bit curious about "the why" of the game go buy it. Just don't hope to read it all in one day
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:45 PM   #20
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I bought and am reading Painless Algerba in hopes I will be able to understand the equations a bit more and maybe use them as a basis for working out other stuff. Anyone familiar with this book? Do you think I'll be able to understand something like example 20.5 in MoP after going through this book, or is there something more advanced you could recommend?
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:16 PM   #21
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Sharpie is your issue more conceptual than mathematical? To what level did you study maths at school? Most of the algebra in the book is pretty simple.

If your wanting a better understanding of the kind of game theoretic reasoning maybe buy a book on that? A fun one I enjoyed was Thinking Stategically by Dixit and Nalebuff.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:45 PM   #22
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Quote:
I bought and am reading Painless Algerba in hopes I will be able to understand the equations a bit more and maybe use them as a basis for working out other stuff. Anyone familiar with this book? Do you think I'll be able to understand something like example 20.5 in MoP after going through this book, or is there something more advanced you could recommend?
I doubt you can use the solutions for those simple games to make any conclusions in real poker.
As to understanding the derivations from MoP... it may be hard if you don't have mathematical background. I wouldn't worry much though. Just picture the solution try to improve on one of the players strategy and once you see it's impossible you got it. Being able to solve those games yourself is not that important I believe.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:22 PM   #23
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

I have this book and find it really helpful. I agree with Phil, the maths isn't too bad i don't think, nothing beyond alevel if i remember right. And the simplified AKQ games etc. are really interesting from a game theoretic view, as well as the bankroll management stuff. But as others have said i think you can draw many useful conclusions and apply the approach to your game without going in-depth into the maths.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:38 AM   #24
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

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Sharpie is your issue more conceptual than mathematical? To what level did you study maths at school? Most of the algebra in the book is pretty simple.
I pretty much cheated and skipped algebra because I thought I wouldn't need it (dumb)

I understood some of the math, but I was just wanting to understand a couple of the later equations in the book. I pretty much got every concept, but whereas alot of the book I think you can apply it to your game without fully knowing the math, I don't feel there's a way to accurately apply the last part of the game theory section without fully understanding the math.

Quote:
I doubt you can use the solutions for those simple games to make any conclusions in real poker.
As to understanding the derivations from MoP... it may be hard if you don't have mathematical background. I wouldn't worry much though. Just picture the solution try to improve on one of the players strategy and once you see it's impossible you got it. Being able to solve those games yourself is not that important I believe.
I disagree, I believe if I understand how they calculate the last couple of equations in the game theory part of the book, I can apply that to my own situations with a predetermined board and distributions, and get a pretty good idea of how often an optimal player should be betting with 1 card to come.
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:23 AM   #25
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Re: Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen

Most mathematic formulas in the book are optional and can be skipped as authors poit out. Book dose not require outside knowlede ( it dose not pull out formulas from the hat or refer to other books )

Read book from the start (even if you skip the math and take authors word for it) since it builds up.

If you whant to understand the later math, start reading the book WITH the math from start. That builds up as well.

Any other good books on the subject you would recommend? (Poker, math, strategic thinking and making correct desicions. Book with this kind of academic thorougness go to the top of the list)
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