## Is Numerical Ability the Most Important Skill in Poker?

There are some people that believe poker is a game of luck rather than a game of skill. They insist that it’s entirely in the lap of the gods whether the dealer turns over a winning card on the river or not. Those people couldn’t be further from the truth. Poker is a game of skill. It’s a battle of hearts and minds, with those capable of reading situations and opponents best more likely to prevail in each hand they play. Meanwhile, those capable of accurately calculating the odds of either themselves or their opponent winning a hand in any given situation will also stand the best chance of being a winning player in the long-term.

Consequently, mathematics plays a big role in determining the long-term profitability and success of any poker player. Of course, it cannot be assumed that those unfamiliar with poker mathematics will be losing players, but there’s no doubt that having sound knowledge of pot odds in every hand can give you an advantage over those that don’t use probability as a basis for their bets at the table. But is poker math the most important strategy in poker? Let’s first consider the core strategies adopted in poker before determining whether math plays an integral part in decision-making in every hand.

## The key strategies used in poker

• Starting hand selection

Undoubtedly the most fundamental strategy for any Texas Hold’em poker player, choosing the right starting hands to play will give you the best possible chance of winning long-term at the tables. Those that value a cautious approach will adopt a tight strategy, playing relatively few hands and taking little risk. Those who like to test their opponents and put them under pressure will adopt a more aggressive starting hand selection, opening pots with big raises.

• The use of table position

Using your position at the table is another crucial strategy. Sitting on the dealer button is the most preferred spot as you will act last in each round of betting, giving you plenty of free information on your opponents’ hands. It’s not always possible to play on the dealer button, however, but it’s always good to play in ‘late’ position as opposed to ‘early’ position.