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We certainly think so!  Juicy Stakes wishes that everyone could play Juicy Poker!  To that end, we offer many different games at many different stakes levels.  We keep the rake low so you can keep most of what you win!  We also publish many helpful articles, such as this one, about poker!

Poker Math or Poker Psychology

There are two divergent schools of thought about developing a sound poker strategy.  One emphasizes poker math: odds, pot odds, expected value, equity, and a lot more.  The other “school” of poker thought emphasizes the psychological side of poker.

You might not have a very good hand.  You might feel that based entirely on the math, you should fold the hand as soon as possible.  But you might also think that a big bet against a particular opponent or opponents could intimidate them enough that they will fold, giving you a pot you had no right to win.

So, which school of poker thought is correct?

The best answer is that we need a healthy combination of both!  There really isn’t a clash between poker math advocates and the advocates of a psychological poker strategy.  The c;ash is really a dichotomy which can usually be resolved by incorporating elements of both sides into a creative and unique new idea.

In this article, we will look at a few dichotomies that we all are aware of to some degree.  Let’s see if we can’t learn something about poker from looking at dichotomies in everyday like.

What Kind of Music Do You Like?

There are some kinds of music, such as opera, that require clear and clean voices.  On the other hand, popular music in all of its many forms is where so many good singers who have less than spectacular voices thrive.


No one would attend an opera where the singers had raspy voices.  But in popular music, there is an element of emotion that can carry a song and a singer to great heights of professional success.

The Analytical Approach in Baseball

Analytics seem to have taken over baseball!  Players analyze their performances using metrics that no one was thinking about 50 years ago.  Still, there are also some aspects of baseball that cannot be refuted.

For example, on base percentage is now considered a vital statistical category for all players.  It once was thought to be important just for the lead-off batter.  Now, it is important for everyone.

There is a statistic called the OPS which combines on base percentage and power as power is expressed as slugging percentage which mathematically describes how many bases a batter earns per at bat.  In fact, these statistics are not confusing and have helped managers and front office management to evaluate players.

However, during the course of a game, the manager may decide that a non-statistical approach is justified.  Dusty Baker may have though the Marc Pryor was still his best pitcher in the fateful inning back in 2003 when the Chicago Cubs squandered a lead and failed to get to the World Series.  As the manager, Baker needed to know that psychologically his pitcher was done for that game, even if he was still the “best” pitcher the Cubs had!

The non-statistical happens in baseball all the time and managers who are adept at using non-analytical information often have the best results.

A Sun and Sea Vacation or a Vacation in the Mountains

At the sea, there will be sun, refreshing dips in the water, salty air if you are at the ocean, sexy people to look at, nightlife after dark, and all of the other things that make sun and sea vacations so popular.

In the mountains, you’ll breathe clean and crisp mountain air, you’ll sleep without air conditioning, you’ll sit around a campfire at night singing folk songs, telling tall talks, or just relaxing.

Rampant Rise of the False Dichotomy

The “clash” between the mathematical side of poker and the psychological side is a false dichotomy. Strictly speaking, a false dichotomy is a yes or no issue.  Most of the things we have to make decisions about are less yes or no questions than they are things we can’t do at the same time.

A false dichotomy simply means that this issue may look black and white but it is really a bit grey!

  1. We can’t have our cake and eat it too.  We should genuinely enjoy the having and the eating!
  2. We often can’t deal with two kids at the same time.  One wants you to read a book and one needs to have his diaper changed and is crying.  It has to be enough to give excellent attention to both.
  3. We can’t order two entrees at the same meal but we can certainly order one this time and the other desirable one the next time.

There is a long list of false dichotomies.  We used to be able to see the grey areas but these days it has become harder and harder to do so.  In poker, there are those players who rely entirely on math while other players are uncomfortable and rely instead on psychology and observation.

As far as games go, poker may be the greatest false dichotomy going!  In chess, the pieces are all there.  In SET, you either see a set or you don’t.  It isn’t mysterious.

One of the reasons that poker is so popular is because it is so mysterious.  Even in a game with five community cards and only two hidden cards, you NEVER KNOW!

Overcoming False Dichotomies

It is one thing to say that there should be a healthy balance between the mathematical and the non-mathematical sides of poker and to incorporate this insight into your play.  That’s one of the many reasons we recommend to new players to start out at lower stakes where, even if they lose some money, the sums won’t be extravagant.

Learning to concentrate on hand after hand that a player has folded out of is a learned skill, not a natural one.  We like to let out minds wander.  The time and place to let your mind wander is at the ocean or high up in the mountains as you tale in a beautiful sunrise or sunset!

We can do that when we take a “real vacation” which is the subject of another article!

For now, we urge all new poker players to JOIN JUICY STAKES NOW!

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