What Can You Do With This: 2008 World Series Of Poker

This is the final hand of the 2008 World Series of Poker.

Click through to view embedded content.

Download high quality here. See the pilot for instructions.

BTW: Chuck has precision on his side:

I’d stop the tape after the turn comes down and have them figure out the chance that the guy with 2 pair wins

ESPN makes a running calculation of these percentages, of course, so I blacked out that information in the clip. Have the students make the calculations and then play the unedited clip.

The cool thing, to me, is that there are varying levels of difficulty, depending on how many community cards are still unknown.

The other cool thing, to me, is that the problem functions pretty well as just a photo. In the thumbnail image, for instance, you have all the information you need, with just enough panic in Eastgate’s face to motivate the problem.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. What is the probability of Demidov getting a flush? A straight flush? What is the probability of Eastgate getting a straight? How would that differ if Eastgate had been dealt a 4 & a 5 instead of an Ace and a 5? How do each of these probabilities change as each card is shown?

    Lots of different directions one could take this. Nice. I think I’ll use this when I work with math team on our refresher of probability. Thanks!

  2. I’d stop the tape after the turn comes down and have them figure out the chance that the guy with 2 pair wins…Then something like if you were him and you knew the other guy had you beat, how much of a bet would you call to see the flop?

  3. while you’re blacking things out, dan, why not take out the cards completely and just show their faces.

    probably not worth the extra time. but then at least you might be able to make it fit into psychology. cut the tape off before you see everyone cheering for eastgate, ask the students who won.

    (this also would probably not work for many people who have students that have watched this already. my students, yeah they haven’t seen it.)

  4. @Jeff, I was originally censoring player names, announcer voices, and all kinds of miscellaneous detail. It made the problem sufficiently harder but it ruined the simplicity of the exercise, also, so I stopped. I’d eat my right hand for a video track sans commentary, though.

    @Jackie, in looking for a visceral question which the video could factcheck, I decided to black out the computerized percentage calculations and have students make their own calculations. The fun part is that there are now three different calculations of increasing difficulty: pre-flop, flop, and turn, with the turn (one card remaining, 46 possibilities, all known) being easiest.

  5. I downloaded it from Mininova with the Azureus Bittorrent client and converted that file using a utility called ffmpeg to something Final Cut Pro could edit. Inside Final Cut Pro, I cropped the clip and added two rectangles above the percentages. I exported it under the h264 codec and used the free JW player for the little Flash player you see on the site.

    Lemme know if I can fill in any gaps there.

  6. Michele Armstrong

    September 4, 2009 - 5:40 pm -

    How do you incorporate your show and tell into the classroom? Do they work for you because you are passionate about photography?

  7. Show and tell usually consists of a video clip halfway through our two-hour period. There’s also a photo set I show right after the opener. It isn’t because I have any experience with video or photo that these work for my students. They work because I find them really, really interesting. And it doesn’t take much to sell “interesting” to my students.

    The only way I can see these bombing disastrously in a classroom is if the teacher didn’t find them interesting and was kind of faking it because other teachers were doing it. Or if they were being promoted as a break from all the lame, boring math work. Like, okay, if you guys get through two pages of fraction charts, I’ll show you something you already saw on YouTube last week. I can see kids tiring of that also.