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Pot Odds

The ability to calculate pot odds is a necessary part of Poker Mathematics and is used a lot by expert players to get an added advantage in a Texas Holdem Poker game. No matter whether you are playing at 10/40 table or the 100/500 table at our poker rooms, you will always find a player who is making bad pot odd decisions and paying for the same. Both "Outs" (already discussed) as well as "Odds" play an important role in determining the winner of a poker game. Here, we have discussed briefly about how you can calculate "Pot Odds" and gain an advantage over your opponents:

Pot Odds can be calculated in 2 ways:

1) Ratio Method -

Let’s take an example. Say, we have an Ace of hearts & 8 of hearts as your two hole cards. While the community cards are deuce of hearts, 7 of spades & Jack of hearts. Now say there are two people left in the pot, you and your opponent. There is INR 80 in the pot and your opponent bets INR 20.

(i) Calculating Odds - First of all we need to find out the ratio of cards in the deck that we don’t want against cards that we do want. There are 5 cards in this hand that we know, our 2 hole cards and the 3 cards on the flop. This leaves us with 47 cards in the deck that we do not know. Out of those 47, there are 9 cards that will make our flush and 38 that will not. If we put this into a ratio it gives us 38:9, or roughly 4:1.

(ii) Comparing Odds - Now we know that the odds of hitting a heart on the next card are 4:1. This means for every 4 times we don’t catch a heart, 1 time we will. Next we have to calculate the same ratio of odds using the amount that is in the pot and the bet we are facing. Our opponent has bet $20 into an $80 pot making it $100. This means we have to call $20 to stand a chance of winning $100. This makes our odds $100:$20 which works out to equal 5:1 pot odds. So,

Card Odds: 4:1 & Pot Odds: 5:1

This means that we should call as the odds we are getting from the pot are bigger than the odds that we will hit our flush on the next card. In the long run we will be winning more money than we are losing.

2) Percentage Method

Again, let’s take an example. Say, we have 7 of spades & 9 of diamonds as your two hole cards. While the community cards are 6 of hearts, 8 of club & Ace of diamond. This time your opponent bets INR 30 making the pot INR 90 in total. We will find out whether or not to call by finding out the pot odds in percentages.

(i) Calculating Odds - To find the chance of making the straight on the next card we again need to find the number of outs (‘outs’ are cards that will complete the hand we are trying to make, in this example we are trying to make a straight.). There are 4 fives and 4 tens that will complete our straight giving us a total of 8 outs. To find the percentage chance of making the straight on the next card we simply need to double the outs and add one.

Finding the percentage "card odds": Double the outs: 8 * 2 = 16, add one: 16 + 1 = 17%, 17% chance of making the straight.

(ii) Comparing Odds - Our opponent has bet INR 30 making the pot INR 90. This means we have to call INR 30 to stand a chance of winning INR 120. As you can see we have to add our own bet that we will call onto the size of the pot to find the total pot size. This part is very important, as finding the percentage of INR 30 in a INR 90 pot will give a very different result that the percentage of INR 30 in a INR 120 pot. Using basic mathematics we know that INR 30 is 25% of the INR 120. So,

Card Odds: 17% & Pot Odds: 25%.

As we have already found out we have 17% chance of making the straight on the next card, which means that we should only call 17% of what is in the pot. Therefore because we are being forced to call 25% to play on we should fold. We would be losing money in the long run if we called.

Implied Odds

Where pot odds take into consideration the money that's in the pot right now, implied odds is an estimation on how much money you can win from the bet if you hit one of your outs.

A good example of when implied odds in poker come into play is when you limp in with a small or medium pair before the flop. Your chance of hitting a set (which is typically the only way a small or medium pair will win) is around 7.5-1, which means that pot needs to have 6 or 7 other limpers to make it worthwhile. But, of course, that's presuming that everyone will fold if you hit your set, which is rarely the case. Let's say instead that you get four other limpers and your bets will narrow the field down by 50% on the flop, and another 50% on the turn - what are your implied odds? 

Four limpers to the flop = 4 Small Blinds
Two callers to the turn = 2 Small Blinds
One caller to the river = 1Big Blinds = 2 Small Blinds

Here, you stand to win 8 small bets, at the initial price of 1, which gives your call positive expectation. By this count, your implied odds are good to make this pre-flop call with a weak pair because of the money you'll figure to win if you do hit your set, rather than the amount you're "guaranteed" to win.

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