POKER THEORYThe single most influential book ever written on poker is David Sklansky bestseller "The Theory of Poker'' published in 1987. This was the first book to correctly identify many of the underlying strategic principles of poker. Several exampes from Texas Hold'em, Seven-Card-Stud, Five-Card-Draw, Seven-Card-Lowball, and Lowball-Draw, illlsutrate these concepts. Still they are equally applicable to all variations of poker.
Present a complete overview of poker theory is beyond the scope of this article, still a few examples would really help.
Sklansky's came up with a Fundamental Theorem of Poker. It regards that each 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 each time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. In contrast, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose.
The Fundamental Theorem is discussed in common language, but has an accurate mathematical interpretation. The expected value of each decision made during an actual game can be compared to the expectation of the correct verdict, based on perfect information. Every player's long term expectation is established precisely by the relative frequency and rigour of these ``misplays''. On an average, a player who makes few misplays than his opponents will be a winning player. The theorem may seem to state the obvious, but has many subtle implications to poker strategy, some of which are illustrated in the text.
It is not clear to what degree a computer algorithm can excel at ``human'' aspects of the game which include reading hands, understanding the psychology of poker, and evaluating the profitability of a game.