understanding pot odds - new player dos and don'ts
Okay newbie, its time to educate yourself on pot odds.
Imagine that youre holding a four cards to a flush draw after the flop. You were dealt two spades and two more spades came out on the flop.
If a spade comes out on the board, you will hit your flush. If the spade doesnt come out on the turn or river cards, then you will have nothing.
The guy acting before you just raised the pot. There are $500 chips in the pot and you have to call a $100 bet. What do you do?
This is a situation where pot odds come in very handy. If youre new to the game, or if you just hate thinking about math, pot odds might seem like a strange, mesmerizing concept. Pot odds really arent that more complicated than usual poker odds.
Once youve practiced using pot odds, you wont even remember how you played the game of poker without this useful tool. Heres what you need to know.
What Are Pot Odds?
Pot odds describe the relationship between the amount of money that is in the pot and the amount that you have to call.
In the example above, the pot was $500 and the bet you had to call was $100. Your pot odds for this hand would be 5 to 1.
Figuring out your pot odds is just the beginning though. In order to decide whether you should call, you also need to figure out your poker hand odds.
What Are Hand Odds?
Knowing how to count your outs and figuring out what the probability is for these outs to come out on the turn or river, is an essential tool for poker success.
Lets go back to our example. Youre goal is to hit a flush. There are two spades in your hand and two spades on the board. There are 13 cards of every suit. With four suits showing, you have nine cards that can help you. That means that you have nine possible outs.
This is really simple if you use a poker calculator, but you'll also need to have a clue how to calculate these odds without any help or tool.
There are 52 cards in a standard deck. There are five cards that you can already see (the three cards on the flop and the two cards in your hand), so that leaves 47 cards. Out of these 47 cards, only nine cards will help you make you hand. There are 38 cards that will not make your flush and nine that will. That gives you 4.2 to 1 odds (38/9 = 4.2) that you will not hit your flush on the next card.
If the turn card doesnt help you, and you have only one card left to give you an out, dividing your initial hand odds by two should give you rough, estimated hand odds against hitting your flush on the river.
Make Better Decisions - Calculate Hand Odds vs. Pot Odds
By comparing your hand odds with your pot odds, you can make a better decision as to whether or not you will call the bet.
Your hand odds are 4.2 to 1 against making your hand. Your pot odds are 5 to 1. Since the pot odds are higher than your hand odds, you should make the call.
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