Being good at math should guarantee to win at games of skill and chance. It sounds logical, doesn’t it? Are math teachers actually future poker tournament winners? If so, why aren’t they rich yet? If not, why aren’t they good at it? The issue is more complex than it might seem.
There’s Math and Then There’s Math
Basically, it boils down to whether you can apply what you have learned in everyday life. A primary school math teacher, especially after dealing with unmotivated toddlers day in and day out over a course of several years, it is possible that their math skills will become somewhat rusty.
On the other hand, if you are into math, and we mean really into math, then calculating the odds and finding out a trick or two to win a few tournaments is not that unfeasible. It is up to you whether you want it and whether you can use it.
In theory, being awesome at math gives you an unfair advantage over the rest of the competitors and players. Some of them rely on reading poker faces, while others go for luck (those don’t last too long). Some people employ strategies like card counting and hole carding, though these strategies are used by cheaters everywhere, not just those good at math.
However, there is no rule against calculating odds, as long as you do it discretely. This is one of those things where card counters can be banned for their strategy, but a math teacher walks away scot-free.
If the math teacher in question uses math to figure out the hand of the opposing players, then that falls into a form of card counting. Not only that, it is not exactly reliable. Calculating odds using other information at your disposal, along with the value of your hand should be fine.
Let us point out that this is just an opinion piece and we in no way expect you to win using math, nor should you consider playing poker a career choice. Poker is a game of skill and should be treated as such.
So, Do Math Teachers Have an Advantage?
They might, but it’s unlikely. Math teachers usually try to present math in an interesting light to their students, whereas playing poker can in certain cases turn out to be somewhat risky behavior if not done responsibly. While both endeavors require math, it is our belief that the kind of math used to win at poker is different from that taught in a classroom. That being said, being extra cautious can’t hurt. Who knows whether the poker player sitting across from you went to MIT or not.