The Greek Math Professor Turned Poker Master at UCLA

Who hasn’t enjoyed a game of poker or a friendly game of chess with a glass of wine? Well, there is a Greek professor who does not only enjoy playing chess and poker but has become the master of these two games.

Konstantinos ”Duncan” Palamourdas is a 33-year-old professor of Mathematics in California whose passion for games, puzzles and math led him to become one of the most successful tutors of poker.

He graduated with honors from the University of Athens with a double specialization in both applied and pure mathematics. Then he got his master’s on algorithms and logic from the same University.

Right after that, Palamourdas received a scholarship from UCLA, the University of California in Los Angeles, for a PhD in mathematics. He also obtained a second Master’s, and his PhD in mathematical logic from UCLA.

When asked about himself, Palamourdas says: ”Early on in my life I found that math helps me make sense of the world, so I have applied it to several subjects over the years, with poker being at the top of the list. Poker is a numbers game after all, so if you learn how to make decisions based on statistics, you will be profitable.”

After his graduation, Palamourdas started teaching all sorts of math including calculus, algebra, logic, number theory, geometry, stats, discrete math and many more.

In 2014, Palamourdas got the chance to teach math-based game classes at UCLA extension, and more specifically, poker.

UCLA, The University of California in Los Angeles

While he was teaching poker classes at UCLA, he was offered the chance to teach games for OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, that is a non-profit organization that offers classes to senior citizens who want to stay mentally active after their retirement.

The classes quickly became very popular and the wait-lists were always larger than the amount of students each class took on.

This is the reason why the university decided to offer classes every quarter and even add different levels for beginners and advanced students.

After more than 5 years of experience teaching poker and gathering material about it, the Greek mathematician decided to write a book.

”I am trying to combine both my expertise as a mathematician and educator, as well as my experience as a poker player and gamer in general, to simply and efficiently explain the game (and how to beat it) in a language that everyone can understand,” Palamourdas says.

His book will be published in the next couple of months, adding a new chapter in this Greek Mathematician’s journey to the magic world of mathematics and games.