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On Randomness, Rushes, Hot Seats, and Bad Luck Dealers

Some of the erroneous belief in the play poker world rotates around notions that the cards fall in predictable patterns. Following are the three common beliefs:

1. You can be on a rush during which you can expect better cards than usual.
2. A seat in which a player has been getting good cards can be expected to continue to receive good cards.

3. Several dealers can be expected to deal a player especially good or bad cards.

Each of these notions shows a lack of appreciation of the idea of randomness.

A Coin Toss Rush

One simple way to explain the concept of randomness is the coin toss. I will use coin toss analysis to represent the absurdity of each of the misbelieve notions I have stated. You should consider the concept of being on a rush. Many poker players think that they have recognized when they are on a rush.

They think that they can play bad hands because as they are on a rush, they will certainly make good hands on the flop or in future, at the frequency higher than what could usually be expected.

This is just a delusion. To know why, one should first know what the cards, you get are random. The cards are shuffled and scrambled to develop unpredictable patterns each deal. Now the tough player should note that a online poker player can dealt some combination of cards, or to make some kinds of hands but it does not mean that the deal of the cards are random. It means only that the resulting combinations are not equally possible. It is somewhat like throwing two dice. The result is random, even though certain numbers are more possible to come up than others. (For discussion and example refer to the book Randomness written by Deborah J. Bennett.)
One more thing with the randomness of the cards faced is that you cannot exactly predict what cards you will get next. You can exactly say, for instance, that you are more likely to be dealt AK with AA. But you cannot predict better than statistical probability when you get one or the other.

However, what if you were to choose a period when you happen to have been getting great uncommon assortment of cards. Assume that for half an hour you happen to have been dealt a greater than average number of "premium" starting hands such as high pairs, AK, AQ and such others. In that case, can you not predict that you are especially probable to get a premium hand on the next deal? This is a nice time to go for an enjoyment in a coin toss.


Suppose you start to toss a fair coin many times. Starting on the 458th toss you happen to have a streak of 17 tails in a row. Will you be ready to lay odds that it will come up a tail on the next toss? Will you agree to bet, suppose, two dollars to someone else's one dollar that the next toss will create a tail? For doing so you would have to be convinced that the chance of a tail coming up on the next toss is no more 50 percent. You will have to think that it has fairly increases to over 66 percent. Look to it. As you looked at the coin sitting in your hand before to the next toss, you would actually have to think some pressures was present making it over 66 percent likely to come up a tail.

Let's take another matter. Suppose you jotted the results of many million coin tosses in a row. Now you go back and look at the results in order. Thus you have data that might look something like this: TTHTHHHTHTTTTTHTH… Now assume that you select 100 sequences within the million in which the first ten tosses of the order created a head. You need not consider beyond the tenth toss of each sequence. As each of these sequences has least ten heads in a row, is it fair to assume that they should, on average, be more likely to reveal a head on the next toss than would be the case for sequence of, say three heads in a row? Remember that if you answer to his question you should consider that the ten head sequence has affected the coin to change in one way or he other.

The sequence of heads coming up frequently in a row is completely equivalent to the poker player making many good hands in a row. Unless you believe that for these coin toss sequences the chance of the coin coming up a head on the 11th toss is higher than 50 percent, you will lack logical rationality if you think the player who has many good hands in a row is better than the normal (that is, better than statistical probability) to make a good poker hand on the next deal.

Then, does it mean that rushes do not actually exist? No. Players do seldom make a high proportion of winning hands over a long period. It means that you can never accurately only say you are on a rush or that you are playing your rush. You can just say that you have been on a rush over some little period in the immediate past. You cannot predict, better than chance, any continuation of that rush. Thus, to change anything about your approach based on the notion that you are "on" a rush that you hope to continue is preposterous. This does not mean that you should never make any logical adjustments based on having been on a rush and as a result of how you think your rivals are thus reacting to you.

Continue Here: Waste Of Energy On Deception

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