## Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recently, there’s been a small thread churning on 2+2 in the Poker Theory section on hand combinations. Specifically, someone commented on PokerStars latest promotion, in which they were centering the festivities around their upcoming 80-billionth hand dealt. Yes, you read that right: 'Stars is going to pass their 80,000,000,000th hand within a week or so.

Anyway, the question posed was whether 'Stars had dealt/played every possibly hand of hold’em yet in that 80 billion hands. That's a lot of cards and combos, so surely they must have dealt out every possible combination of cards at a theoretical 9-handed table by now, right?

The short answer is: No they haven’t, and it’s not even close.

The longer answer is that the math geeks on 2+2 worked out that there is a mind-blowingly huge  2,969,534,343,999,738,737,074,447,813,120,000 possible combinations of ways the cards can be dealt out at a 9-handed Texas hold'em table. This can be rewritten/approximated in scientific notation as ~ 3x10^33 poker hands.

How big is this number?