Las Vegas Gambling Tips – Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One (Continued)

Las Vegas Gambling Tips – Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One (Continued)

Las Vegas Gambling Tips: Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One (Continued)

On The Town With Vegas Vic
By: Victor H. Royer

Welcome to Las Vegas! My name is Victor H. Royer, but everyone just calls me Vegas Vic. I was named after that famous neon sign in Downtown Las Vegas, that cowboy with the hat on top of the Pioneer Club, always waving his hand and beckoning to his long love, Sassy Sally, on the other side of the street. I will be writing a few articles for, so I hope you enjoy them.


This article is continued from Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One


Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One (Continued)

Theory does not always explain reality, and reality does not always mirror expected theory. That is the single most relevant concept that is often missing from a great many books about poker. Poker books are usually divided into two basic categories, those that are written from the theoretical, or mathematical, or statistical, perspective, and those that are written from the “experience in the real world” acquired and applied ideology. There are many great authors who have written terrific books on the theory of poker, and in particular on the mathematical and statistical analysis of poker games such as Texas Hold’Em, most notably books written by Mason Malmouth and David Sklansky.

I think everyone should read books by such authors, including other books by other authors who have also explored such theoretical subject matters. On the other hand, there are also excellent books written from the applied perspective of experienced ideology, among which are some excellent books by world champions T.J. Cloutier, Tom McEvoy, Dan Harrington, and Phil Hellmuth. Naturally, there are even many more other books written from both of these perspectives by other authors whose works are no less important. As I have always stated in my many books, I have always been of the opinion that reading more is better than reading less, and that therefore it is to your advantage to read as many books as you can about poker, including the theories of the games as well as books written by those who are either poker champions, very good players, or excellent teachers.

When reading such books, it would also be to your advantage to keep in mind exactly what perspective such authors have used as the basis for the discussion they have written. Most books about poker will mention the theory behind the game, or refer to the general game theory applicable to the game, as well as discuss the principles of playing the game in the real world. Unfortunately, I have often found that those that promote reliance on theory and mathematics, as well as statistics and probabilities and odds, often fail to take into account that such calculations are significantly based in and around the artificial constructs such as the principles of mathematics and finite samplings, but fail to apply that to the realities of the world in which such items of knowledge are supposedly to be used and upon which decisions in the world are supposedly to be made. At the same time, those that are writing from the experience and real-world perspective often refer to the statistics or mathematics of the game theory as validating the ideology they are describing as the basis for discussions they are undertaking.

While there is nothing wrong with such endeavors, I think that ignoring the vast chasm that exists between the theory and the reality is a big mistake that does not serve fruitful teaching of the game or its theory. For example, the game theory of Texas Hold’Em as based upon its rules and the relevant mathematical and statistical samplings indicate that a player will receive pocket Aces once each 220 deals, and that such a starting hand will win approximately 1/3rd of the time. That is perfectly fine, as long as we accept three basic assumptions:

1. We accept the mathematical model of statistical sampling, and agree to the general concept and principles which we call “mathematics”. We also agree that it actually means something.

2. We agree that the generally accepted statistical sampling of approximately 10 million hands is a sufficient sampling of the entire universe of infinite possibilities to indicate what we consider to be mathematically and statistically relevant outcomes.

3. Furthermore, we also agree that the reality will actually mirror these statistical samplings and that therefore those artificial constructs to which we have so previously agreed will actually have transcendent applicability and meaning to the situations that we will actually encounter.

Those are three very big assumptions. Unfortunately, the way that human beings have conducted scientific research for as long as they have been able to do so, except perhaps during the very early times in ancient Greece when scientists and philosophers were intellectually co-joined, has resulted in a presupposed dogmatism that has all but stifled innovative and inventive thinking in all scientific research and endeavors. Mathematics is no different, and neither are statistical samplings as they apply to game theory, or in this case Texas Hold’Em in particular. We will continue this discussion in the next issue.

Click to read Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part Two

Victor H. Royer, known as Vegas Vic, is the author of 42 books. Mostly known for books, articles, and columns on casino games and gambling, he is also the author of New Casino Slots, Great Gamblers: True Stories and Amazing Facts, The Great American Joke Book, as well as his works of Fiction, which include: Another Day, and the Western: Riders on the Wind. Versatile and multitalented, Royer is the creator, producer, and host of the Web-TV show Great Casino Slots, now showing at He also composes music and performs under the names Glenn Diamond, Pappy Jones, Hans Dorfmann, and Miguel Armandaiz. For more information, please visit him at and Sign up for the Insider Advantage Newsletter at:

His books can be ordered through this website, by following the links provided

(c) Copyright 2016 Victor H. Royer. All rights reserved. For syndication purposes, contact GSR Holdings Inc. at: [email protected]

Return To Las Vegas Gambling Tips