The Mathematics of Poker

Bill Chen (Author) Jerrod Ankenman (Author)


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the bond an option markets were dominated by traders who had learned their craft by experience. They believed that there experience and intuition for trading were a renewable edge; this is, that they could make money just as they always had by continuing to trade as they always had. By the mid-1990s, a revolution in trading had occurred; the old school grizzled traders had been replaced by a new breed of quantitative analysts, applying mathematics to the "art" of trading and making of it a science.

Similarly in poker, for decades, the highest level of pokers have been dominated by players who have learned the game by playing it, "road gamblers" who have cultivated intuition for the game and are adept at reading other players' hands from betting patterns and physical tells.

Over the last five to ten years, a whole new breed has risen to prominence within the poker community. Applying the tools of computer science and mathematics to poker and sharing the information across the Internet, these players have challenged many of the assumptions that underlie traditional approaches to the game. One of the most important features of this new approach is a reliance on quantitative analysis and the application of mathematics to the game.

The intent of this book is to provide an introduction to quantitative techniques as applied to poker and to a branch of mathematics that is particularly applicable to poker, game theory. There are mathematical techniques that can be applied for poker that are difficult and complex. But most of the mathematics of poker is really not terribly difficult, and the authors have sought to make seemingly difficult topics accessible to players without a very strong mathematical background.

Product Details

Publish Date
December 01, 2006
6.05 X 0.77 X 9.0 inches | 1.18 pounds
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About the Author

Bill Chen was born in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1970 and grew up in Alabama. He received a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999. He started thinking about poker while a grad student when he augmented his National Science Foundation grant with poker winnings from local clubs. Bill represented PokerStars from 2002 to 2011 and has participated in High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. Bill currently lives near Philadelphia. Bill won two World Series of Poker bracelets in 2006.
Jerrod Ankenman grew up in Orange County, California. He received a BS in Business Management from Pepperdine in 2004 and an MS in Applied Mathematics from Columbia in 2010. Jerrod picked up poker as a hobby from reading, and as a career from collaborating on poker with Bill (and others). Jerrod won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2009.


"For those who think poker math is only about probability, pot odds, and straightforward, rote play, think again. Chen and Ankenman do a terrific job explaining how math can, among other things, show you exactly how to mix up your play in such a way that even champion players cannot get the best of you. Especially those who don?t read this book." -- David Sklansky "Rear Cover"