Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Binomials and Poker

In a March 2008 blog post by Phil Gordon called "Binomial Love" on ESPN's Poker Site he talks about the probabilities of winning and losing tournaments. Now Phil is a very smart guy. He attended very good schools and I personally know some of the crowd he runs with it doesn't surprise me that he posted a blog based on the binomial formula.

What the heck is a Binomial Formula you ask? Thanks...here is the answer:

P(k out of n) =- n! / k!(n-k)! * (p^k)(q^(n-k)) Here, "P" represents the probability of something happening "k" out of "n" times, given that the event has a probability of happening of "p", with the probability of it not happening equaling "q". To nut it down to 8th grade math - it is Algebra.

Still with me or ready to lay down from your head spinning? Let me sum it up for you so we can get out of the mire of mathematics. The binomial formula simply states the probability of something happening in the form of a percentage.

For example, in the poker league I play in called API, if we assume that all the players are average and there are a certain number of players in each event we can figure out how often you should win that game, but let's look at what some of us are planning on doing this year.

A small group of players I met in API are focused on playing in WSOP circuit events for the remainder of 2008 and 2009 leading up to the 2009 WSOP in Las Vegas .

Assuming we are average players with a 10 percent chance of cashing in an event, and plan on playing 10 WSOP events this year what are the chances of getting shut out?

n=10, k=0, p=0.10, q=0.90
P=34.86 percent (almost 35%)

Keep this in mind next time you hit a cold streak playing tournament poker and it will help you get back sooner rather than later and remember that tournament poker is a game of failure with only fleeting glimpses of winning - don't get discouraged and keep working on your game.

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