As with all successful gambling, the study of your odds or chances of winning is critical. The ability to know whether a pot is worth calling or not can make you many, many dollars at the poker table as opposed to relying on blind luck for the win! This article will give you a better understanding of Texas holdem poker pot odds and how they can benefit you.
Deciding whether pots are financially worth calling or not are some of poker's most simple and basic choices, yet they are also some of the most common mistakes made at the poker table. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing an online poker micro-cash game or a £100 buy-in live poker tournament at your local casino you will always find a player who makes bad pot odd decisions.
First you need to establish the odds that the pot is laying you. To do this just divide the value of the pot by the amount you are being raised to see the next card, cards or showdown. For example, if you are playing a pot and there is $100 already in and you have to call a $10 bet to see the next card, then you are getting 10-1 poker pot odds. You are wagering $10 for a chance to win the $100 in the pot. If it costs you $20 to see the next card, then you are getting 10-2 in other words 5-1 poker pot odds.
Next you need to work out your chances of hitting a winning poker hand. The simplest explanation of how to calculate this is to compare the total number of unknown cards to how many outs you have, and then simply divide the number of unknown cards by the number of outs that you have. For example, if after the turn you have four of an Ace-high flush draw with two cards in the hole and two on the table you know six of the cards that are out so far, two in your hand and four on the table (flop + turn cards). What this means is there are forty-six unknown cards. Of those forty-six cards, nine are in your suit and will give the winning flush and thirty-seven will not help you. At this point your poker pot odds of completing your flush are 37-9 or approximately 4-1.
Finally, you need to compare the odds that the pot is paying you to the chances of hitting a winning poker hand. We’ll use the previous examples to show you what we mean. There’s $100 in the pot and you have to call a $10 bet to see the next card while you have of an Ace-high flush with two in the hole and two on the table after the turn. As we said, your odds of completing your flush are approximately 4-1 and the odds that the pot is laying you are 10-1. You are 4-1 against completing your hand, so mathematically speaking you will lose four times costing you $40, and win once, winning $100 making you a $60 profit.
However, say there were only $20 in the pot, and it cost you $10 to call. The odds of you completing your flush are the same. You will lose four times costing you $40 and win once winning $20 making you a $20 loss, again mathematically speaking.
So next time you have to make a decision on whether or not to call that big raise or lay your cards down on the table, remember to calculate your odds as we’ve shown here.