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Calculating odds in poker - Pot Odds

Pot Odds!

Pot odds are one of the most fundamental things in poker that you will need to learn especially when you’re playing online. Poker Odds determine whether you are doing the right thing statistically in your poker game. Many new players don’t take into account the importance of having a good grasp over odds/statistics. This is to their detriment as poker is a long term game. In poker you do not make your money off a short session, you make your money according to how may hours you invest as long as you’re a good, consistent player.

So what are pot odds?

Pot odds help you determine whether there is value in calling a bet or making a bet in relation to the size of the pot and how many outs you have. Let’s start off with an example on calculating odds in poker. You are at a holding 79s and have called to see the flop. There are 4 other players in the pot and you’re 4th to act (blinds are $2.50/5). The flop has come a rainbow of 86Q. The pot is $50.  At this point you know that on the turn you have 8 outs to hit the nuts (You can hit any 5 or any 10). The pot odds work out to be 8/47. (1/5.875). Now the player to your right raises by $10 one player folds and another calls. Hence now there is $70 in the pot. You have to put $10 more to call. 10/70 are the odds (or more simply put 1/7). Basically you are getting $7 for every $1 you put into the pot. Considering you have a 1/5.875 chance of hitting the nuts you’re good to calls long as your payoff is larger than your chances to hit then you’re good to call. In this case you every 5.875 (lets call it 6 to make things easier), so every 6 times you are in the position you will hit the nuts. If you’re getting $7 for every $1 you put in then you will loose those $10, 5 times, and make $70. So over 6 times you make $20 profit.

If player 5 calls then your pot odds get better as it will become 8/1!

There can be variables though! This is just one of them: Player 5 may re-raise however! If you have a strong feeling he will make a strong re-raise (like raising the pot then you should re-consider calling the $10 bet). So let’s say you call. That makes $70 in the pot in total. But alas, the player on your left re-raises for another $50. Everyone else before you in the pot folds, so it is you and him one-on-one. Let’s look at the math. Your odds of hitting the right cards are still 1/5.875But the pot odds are different, The bets made when it is your turn to play are: $50 + $10 + $10 + $10 +$10 + $50So in the pot there is now $140. You have to pay another $50 to call his re-raise. 50/140 – 3.14/1So your odds have just got much worse. You are now getting only $3.14 for every $1 you have put in and only have a 5.625 in 1 chance of hitting. So you would fold! These are very rudimentary statistics as they donít take into account several things:

  1. Has he gone all-in? If he has then you have 2 chances of hitting the card you need (turn + river) so your odds will differ.

  2. Let’s say you do call and hit, will he be likely to call a raise or re-raise himself? This is what is called implied odds and you can get even more value for your $50 call.

Now you may think that you’re not into that ‘maths’ bit of poker, but it is imperative that you at the very least know these basics. The most amount of math you will need to do in Texas Hold’em is figuring out the chance of making your outs. So first you figure out your outs, then you divide it by 50 (pre-flop), 47 (Flop), 46 (turn) and 45 (river).

So that is it for calculating odds in poker. Please read the conclusion to this article – Implied Odds

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