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The game played by millions of people worldwide is not exact science, and there is always the risk of losing a hand, a session or even multiple ones due to bad luck alone. Downswings are a constant reminder that even the best poker players can go through rough times and that’s why bankroll management is essential to stay profitable. Having said this, Texas hold ‘em and other versions of poker still rely heavily on the player’s ability to calculate the odds and perform complex calculations.

At its core, this is a game that rewards those who have strong mathematical knowledge, and understanding intricate terms such as game theory which is also required at a certain level. A skilled poker player will always emerge victorious if he plays enough hands with a less experienced opponent, even if the beginner gets lucky more often than he does.

Grinders are the living example that if you play enough hands online and always base your decisions on probabilities and calculations rather than hunches or inspiration, you can make a decent living by playing poker alone. Competing at several tables is something that poker professionals routinely do these days at all limits, but the trick is to keep them manageable. Calculating the pot odds, implied and reversed pot odds is challenging even at one table, but when you throw several into the mix it can be overwhelming.

Poker tournaments on the other hand are more likely to reward lucky players and the best argument is that prominent ones such as the World Series of Poker is frequently won by less prominent players. The truth is that those who win the coveted bracelet need to get lucky a couple of times to stay in the race, even if they shove their chips with better cards. In a tournament, you can’t afford to commit your entire stack too often with 60-70% chances to win, because eventually those 30% will come back to bite you.

Even so, those who finish in the money are those who made the right choice most of the time and this is the result of taking a scientific approach to poker. While table image and the proverbial poker face are still factored in by professionals, mathematics and sheer numbers weigh heavier in the balance. Players know how to protect their premium starting hands, how to set up a trap and what the correct amounts to bet on each street are, based on the size of the pot and the strength of the hand.