How to Decide Under Uncertainty in Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet, or wager, chips (representing money) on the probability that they hold a winning hand. In most forms of the game, each player must put into the pot at least the amount invested by the player to his or her left in order to stay in the betting. Players may also win by bluffing, whereby they make bets higher than those made by other players in the hope that those players will fold their hands.

There are a number of different ways to play poker, and the rules vary depending on the specific game being played. However, there are some underlying principles that all poker games share. For example, each deal begins with a forced bet, which may be in the form of an ante, blind bet, or bring-in. The player to the dealer’s left acts first on each betting interval.

To decide under uncertainty, whether in poker or in other areas such as finance, one must estimate the probabilities of different scenarios and outcomes. This requires an open mind and a willingness to consider all possibilities, even those that might be improbable or unlikely. Over time, this exercise becomes ingrained in the subconscious and one develops an intuition for things like frequencies and EV estimation. Eventually, these become automatic considerations and help in making more informed decisions during a hand of poker. In the end, the best poker players win by weighing their chances of being the best against those of their opponents.