“In the beginning, everything was even money.”
Poker author Mike Caro is the one who came up with that one. It’s a great opener for a strategy article, alluding as it does to another famous opening line.
Caro uses that starting point to explain why it is important for gamblers — and poker players — to learn odds and probabilities. He takes the example of a child learning about the world, not yet knowing the difference between various things or the meanings of words. “Every single thing you heard would be either true or false,” writes Caro, but you hadn’t yet learned how to know the difference. Everything was a “coin flip,” in a way.
Eventually “you began to realize your whole life was governed by odds,” and by means of such education were able to figure out that everything wasn’t “even money” — in fact, in most cases, they aren’t. From there comes the advice to gamblers to learn the odds and “separate good bets from bad ones,” that is to say, “to defeat the notion that everything is even money.”
As poker players we know that when presented with choices at the poker table, some are closer than others, but in many cases the odds suggest one choice to be preferable over the other. It is in that spirit that this week’s installment of The Weekly PokerNews Strategy Quiz presents a series of “either/or”-type questions, and in each case one answer is better than the other.
That said, these eight questions have been very purposely ordered, with early ones presenting choices in which the differences are greater and the later ones getting closer and closer to “even money.” Still, for all eight one of the two choices is clearly the better one. Getting six of eight earns a passing score, and if you miss any you’ll get an explanation of why the other choice was the right one.
By the way — exactly half of the answers are (A) and half are (B), so if you feel like you don’t know which way to go, flip a coin. But know when you do that everything is not even money.
(When you’re done, you can check out Caro’s article, “‘In the beginning’ mantra explained.”)