# How to Use Mathematical Thinking to Win at Poker

Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires some degree of calculation and logic. Those who play the game consistently will quickly learn to evaluate a situation and determine its odds. This skill is not only useful at the poker table, but it can also be utilized in real-life situations to help you make smart decisions.

The object of poker is to execute the most profitable actions (bet, raise or fold) based on the information at hand, with the goal of maximizing the long-term expectation of each action. This is not an easy task, but the difference between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is not as wide as you might think.

In fact, it’s often just a few minor adjustments that can push you over the edge and get you winning at a high clip. A lot of this has to do with learning to view the game in a more cold, detached, mathematical and logical way than you currently do.

There are 52 cards in a standard deck of playing cards, and each poker hand is divided into categories based on their ranking from highest to lowest (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5). Higher category hands beat lower category hands.

Top poker players often fast-play their strong hands, which is good for building the pot and chasing off others waiting for draws that might beat yours. This type of play is also beneficial when you’re trying to minimize your risk, as it will help you keep your bankroll healthy.