training your intuition about poker odds
As more people from all walks of life spend a greater percentage of their free time learning the intricacies of poker online, the end result is a highly educated global population of poker enthusiasts.
Many of these folks - who only a year ago were struggling to remember whether the turn comes before the river or vice versa in a game of Texas Hold'em - are now demanding a higher level of poker knowledge to help them compete in satellite tournaments and other events.
It was inevitable that the subject of poker odds, which once was strictly of concern to professional players, had become an issue of burning importance to the average poker fan.
Many people are wondering how intently they need to learn about the poker odds in order to be successful, and to what level it is possible to train their intuition in this regard. This article will explicate the importance of poker odds in general terms, and offer some advice for the process of self-training.
Poker Odds, Hand Odds and Outs
Understanding poker odds is critical because it lets you know when you are in a good or bad situation.
Hand odds comprise your chances of making a hand in a poker variant like Texas Hold'em. For example, if you hold two spades and two spades appear on the flop, your hand odds for making a flush stand at roughly 2 to 1. Thus, you can expect to hit your flush about one out of every 3 times.
In order to be able to calculate texas holdem odds and what your hand odds may be, you first must determine how many outs your have to work with.
An out is any card left in the deck that helps you make your hand. In an optimal situation, you will always desire for your outs to count toward a nut draw. Many cases will exist wherein this is not possible, however.
Since you do not know what your opponents may be holding, you are only able to calculate the poker odds with a highly limited level of information, comprised of the value of your hole cards and the cards on the board.
A texas holdem odds calculator might come in handy if you feel that you don't have enough time at the online poker table.
Once your hand odds are figured as best as is possible, you need to figure the pot odds. This figure is the ratio of the amount of money in the pot to how much its going to cost you to call.
The truly expert poker player will always take both calculations into consideration before making a move. When assessing your hand odds and wondering how to proceed, the next question to pop into your mind is: What are the pot odds in this situation?
So how does a dedicated poker enthusiast go about the process of training his or her intuition on this crucial matter?
Sadly, as you may have already guessed, there is no simple answer nor easily-purchased product to help you out. The only teacher of any real value is experience.
Start by playing some friendly, low-stakes (or even better, free) hands of your favorite poker variant, and focus solely on your hand odds. After that begins to feel comfortable, augment your approach with an examination of pot odds.
It may take time, but eventually it will start to feel like second nature. Then watch your performance improve!
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