Go 'All In' with Program on Poker and Mathematics

January 25, 2009 — Brian Alspach, a mathematics professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia, calculates that more than 133 million different hands are possible in a game of seven-card stud poker.

But which hands are you more likely to get in your weekly game of Texas Hold 'Em?

Alspach will share his views of how mathematics and poker interact during a talk Monday at the University of Virginia. His appearance, which is geared toward a general audience, is free and open to the public. It's sponsored by U.Va.'s Institute of Mathematical Science.

It's not all fun and games, according to Alspach.

He notes in an abstract of his talk: "With the huge increase in the popularity of poker due to TV and online gaming, there have been suggestions that poker could serve as a basis for teaching students in subjects such as mathematics, risk management and psychology."

Alspach will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Gilmer Hall, room 130.  He has written approximately 100 research papers in mathematics and 250 articles in poker magazines. He has given many invited talks at international conferences and played at many poker tables.