Theorem of Poker

Sometimes the simplest ideas or theorems can shed new found light on even the most complex equations. This is most certainly the case in poker. To often, people search for secret systems or spend hour after hour studying odds and probabilities only to still find themselves a loser when the cards are dealt. Are they doomed to failure? Or are they just failing to grasp the simplest concepts of the game?

51KA4XJH9DL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_The simplest principle or soul of poker is best described by master poker player David Sklansky as The Fundamental Theorem of Poker. Just like in algebra or calculus there is also a theorem of poker. This Fundamental Theorem stated by Sklansky reads as follows.

” Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents’ cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently then they would if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would if they could see all your cards, you lose.”

Obviously, you could never hope to actually see all of your opponents’ cards. Unlike chess or checkers, poker will always be an incomplete equation. But the idea that you should always strive to play as if you could see all the cards is a perfect description of how the game should be played. Not hand by hand or game by game, but as a whole – where you are constantly trying to play according to basic fundamentals with the knowledge that correct play over time will produce positive results.

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