If you want to become a successful poker player you have to be able to calculate the pot odds. But what are pot odds? It’s the relationship between the size of the pot and the size of the bet. For example, if there is $20 in the pot and you have to call a $4 bet, then you are getting pot odds of 5:1. If you have to call a $10 bet in the same $20 pot, you are getting pot odds of 2:1.
The pot size
You always have to be aware of the size of the pot. In Limit poker games, you count the number of bets made instead of the amount of money that has been put into the pot. When the bets are doubled, as in Hold’em, you simply count the big bets as two small bets. If you are playing Pot-Limit or No-Limit games, it’s a bit more difficult to count the pot and, consequently, the odds will not be as precise. However, these calculations still has to be done.
How pot odds are used
When you’ve calculated the pot odds, you have to use this knowledge in a correct way. The pot odds should be connected to the value of your hand. This means you are able to put the other players on likely holdings and understand your chances of beating them in the hand. For example, you’ve flopped a flush draw in a Hold’em game and are facing a player you believe is holding top-pair at the least. Nine of the unseen cards in the deck will give you a flush (these cards are also known as outs) in a situation like this. In the table below it is listed that nine outs gives you a 35% chance (2:1 against) of hitting the flush on the turn or the river. Consequently, you need at least pot odds of 2:1 to call if your opponent bets on the flop.
Considering the implied odds
Implied odds is the relationship between the size of the existing pot and the size of the pot you are likely to win if you hit your hand. Sometimes you play even though the pot does not lay the correct odds. This is because you expect to get further action from your opponents in the upcoming betting rounds if you make the hand you’re looking for. For example, you’re playing in a Limit Hold’em game and an opponent bets $10 into a $40 pot on the turn. This gives you pot odds of 5:1 since you will be risking $10 to win $60 if you call the bet. However, if you expect the player you’re up against to call a bet or raise on the river if you hit your hand, the implied odds you’re getting are 6:1 or 7:1.
A thumb rule for Omaha and Hold’em
One out gives you approximately 4% chance of hitting your hand on the turn or the river. For example, 4 outs give you about a 16% chance of improving, 5 outs about 20%, and so on.
Number of outs for specific draws in Omaha and Hold’em:
|Hand||Number of outs|
|Flush draw with two overcards/straight flush draw.||15|
|Flush draw with one overcard.||12|
|Open-ended straight draw.||8|
|Gut-shot straight draw.||4|
Chances of hitting a draw from a deck with 47 unseen cards:
|Number of outs||Chance on turn and river combined|