Poker Pot Odds Explained

Posted on by gambling guru

Poker Pot OddsPot odds is a phrase that many beginning poker players do not understand. Though its importance to playing the game is quite crucial, and shapes the way many top players play.

In essence, poker pot odds are about value. And in this, there are two values that a player must take into account in a hand: his chance of winning and the size of pot. If a player’s chance of winning the hand, hitting his flush draw, or what have you, is greater than the relation of a bet to the size of the pot, then it could be said that he has “odds,” or pot odds. This may sound confusing, but once you begin to understand the math behind it, it will change your game at the betting sites for the better.

In Practice

For example, suppose you have a 9 8 of hearts on a flop A J 2 with two hearts, you have a flush draw. There are roughly 20 dollars in the pot and your opponent bets 10 dollars, making the pot 30. You are facing a decision to call 10 dollars into a 30 dollar pot, which percentage wise is 33% of the pot. You are sure your opponent has a pair of Aces or at least Jacks. Your odds of hitting a flush draw are roughly 35%, and because 35% is higher than the 33% bet he made, you would have odds to call his 10 dollar bet.

An easy way to figure out the percentage or probability of making your hand can be done if you know how many outs you have. Outs are the number of cards left in the deck of unseen cards that will make your hand better than your opponent’s.

For instance, a flush draw typically has 9 outs left in the deck, because if you are holding 2 hearts, there are 2 hearts on the flop, and there are 13 in the deck, that means there are potentially 9 left in the deck. On the flop you would multiply the number of outs you have by 4 to determine a rough estimate of your percentage of winning the hand. 9 times 4 is 36, which is pretty good estimate of your chance of making the flush draw. On the turn, if you miss your flush draw, that means you have just one card left to make your draw. So instead of multiplying by 4, you would multiply by 2. 9 times 2 is 18, or 18%.

Now lets go back to the situation we described earlier. You called the 10 dollar bet, and the turn came a 6 of spades. You missed your draw. Now the pot is 40 dollars since you called the 10 on the flop, and your opponent bets 20 dollars, making the pot 60. You have to called a 20 dollar bet into a 60 dollar pot, which again is 33%. Because you have only 9 outs to hit your draw, and you know your chance of hitting it is 18%, you should fold your hand. You do not have pot odds because the value of your hand is not getting a good enough price to warrant a call.

Don’t Panic

This may be confusing for someone who has had no prior knowledge of pot odds. There exist however a few programs which can help you work out pot odds. Two worth mentioning are the free SPOC (Simple Pot Odds Calculator) and Calculatem Pro.

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