Summary of “Secrets of the MIT Poker Course”

Poker Theory and Analytics is a graduate-level MIT course taught by Kevin Desmond, a former pro player and Morgan Stanley analyst.
I’m what seasoned poker players would call a “Donkey.” I’ve played only small games with friends, and every hand I’ve ever won has been the result of pure luck.
Why would MIT offer a course on poker in the first place? According to its official overview, the class “Takes a broad-based look at poker theory and applications of poker analytics to investment management and trading.” The bulk of the course consists of eight video lectures.
One is guest-led by poker player, author, and financial risk manager Aaron Brown and covers the history of poker and how it relates to economics.
As the old poker saying goes, you play the players, not the cards.
Your “Effective stack” is “The most chips you can lose in the hand.” My “M-ratio,” an equation popularized by poker pro Dan Harrington, is that effective stack divided by the sum of the “Blinds,” default bets players have to make to play the game, and “Antes,” raises to stay in the game.
That you can play well and still lose is a fact that haunts poker players at every level; it’s a simple truth that can make high-level MIT courses seem comically futile.
I then ask a better question: What are the odds I’ll play as weakly as I just did? MIT couldn’t prevent that from happening, but it did help me diagnose my poker ills.

The orginal article.