Poker 101 Course Offered at Canadian University3 years ago
Poker is often viewed as a reason to drop out of college rather than a reason to attend one, but the tide might be turning. Poker is not only a fun game and a hard way to make an easy living for smart people, it's also a great educational tool and schools are taking notice. "Probability and Games of Chance: Poker 101", a new course offered by the University of Ottawa, aims to give the students a good mix of knowledge from the fields of probability, game theory, psychology and history using games like Hold'em and Omaha as a conduit.
'Poker 101' isn't the only unusual class that found its way into the curriculum of Canadian Universities as they seem to try to outdo each other when it comes to their more extravagant offerings. The University of Victoria teaches a class about the pop sensation Beyoncé, Dalhousie University offers a class on "The Art And Science of Hand Drumming" and the students at the aforementioned University of Ottawa, who might find poker a bit too mundane for their taste can always try "Witchcraft, Magic, and Occult Traditions".
Poker is No Joke
Even if we try to account for our bias, "Probability and Games of Chance: Poker 101" sounds a whole lot more worthwhile than "The Art And Science of Hand Drumming". Every poker player who treats the game with any degree of seriousness learns that poker is about much more than clay and virtual chips moving from the right to the left side of the table.
The utility of the principle of expected value - that good poker players use on regular basis - goes far beyond poker related calculations. Expected value can be our guide in virtually any situation where the variables are relatively easy to identify, from choosing the best bang for the buck option when buying a phone, through picking a retirement plan, to choosing classes at our University. Expected value is the secret weapon that makes the world a whole lot easier to understand for poker players.
Another important lesson that we learn by playing poker is the fact that variance exists, affects just about every aspect of our lives and can't be argued with. Our degree of control in any given situation is usually much smaller than we'd like to think and success can only be achieved via the constant will to improve.
We can only guess if the students enrolled in the "Probability and Games of Chance: Poker 101" course at the University of Ottawa will have the chance to learn all that, but one thing is for certain - poker can be a great educational tool and other schools should take notice.
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