Pot Odds Introduction
Pots odds are important to know when you have a drawing hand such as a flush draw or a straight draw. Knowing the fundamentals of pot odds will make the tough decisions for you. Your pot odds calculations will tell you if calling in a drawing situation will make you money or not.< Pot odds are very important in “Pot Limit” poker and are still important in No Limit poker but not as much. Luck and pure aggression will help you much more in No Limit Texas Holdem. Lets get into how exactly pot odds work.
Pot Odds Simplified
Anytime you are in a flush draw situation you should understand you have a 2 to 1 chance of actually hitting the hand. Just memorize that little tid bit because that’s a must know odd if you are going to play poker seriously. So, if you are 2 to 1 to hit your hand then wouldn’t it make sense that you need 2 to 1 on your money to be in the pot? Yes, pot odds can be that simple.
Memorizing the hand odds of actually hitting a hand is the most important thing you can do. We show below how to calculate your chances of winning a hand. After that it’s simply applying that odd to the size of the pot and how much you have to call.
Pro Techniques on Pot Odds
Dave Ulliott aka the “Devilfish” once explained a very simple tip that he uses to calculate the pot odds and his percentage of winning a hand or not. I personally love this technique and it is the only one I use. On the flop he will count his outs.
Outs are simply the cards that you can catch that you think will make you a winning hand or improve your hand. Let’s say you have AK in the hole and the board is 2, 3, and 4. At this point you can assume that you have 10 outs. You can hit 3 aces, 3 kings, or four 5’s to win the hand, hence you have 10 outs.
Devilfish then multiplies these 10 outs by 4 which would give him 40 and minuses 2 to get 38. Please note that the number 4 is a number that will always be used and will never change. He takes 2 off because he is holding two cards.The 38 would represent that he will win the pot 38% of the time and he acts accordingly to figure out his pot odds. He probably wouldn’t call any pot in this case where he isn’t getting just under 3 to 1 on his money.
If you never read anything on pot odds again remember this tip. It is the simplest and best way of calculating your odds in poker. You can use a slightly different formula if you want to figure out your odds on the turn which we will go into. Here are the formulas written out.
(# of outs on flop X 4) – 2 = Odds of winning the hand
Ex: (10 x 4)-2 = 38% chance of winning hand
Don’t call a bet unless you are getting around 3 to 1 on your money.
The above example is for when you want to figure your odds on the flop. If you want to figure out the odds and pot odds on the turn you simply do this.
Winning Percentage and Pot Odds on the Turn
Here is how you figure out your pot odds and odds of winning after the turn card hits. Take your number of outs you calculated times 2 and then add 2 to that number. This will give you the odds of winning the pot after the turn and hitting your card on the river. The formula written out is below.
(# of outs X 2) + 2 = Odds of winning hand after turn card
Ex from above: (10 x 2) + 2 = 22% chance of hitting winning card on river
In depth Poker Pot Odds Math (Seperate from above)
The math whizzes of the world can use these formulas. If you are good at calculating odds in your head here are the complex formulas you can use. Do not mix this with the simplified forumlas from above. Both with result in slight deviations.
You first need to figure out your chance of winning the hand. You do this by calculating your outs. You then divide this number by 47. The number 47 comes from 52 cards minus 3 on the board and 2 in your hand. This will give you the % of winning the hand.
Figure out how much money is in the pot and add in your opponents bet. You are trying to figure out if the bet is worth calling.
Take the figure you calculated in Step 2 of the pot size + the bet and multiply it by your percentage of winning the hand.
Evaluate the number you get. If it is greater than the amount he bet then you should call. If not then you should fold. Here is the formula and example written out.
(His bet + Pot Size) X (Chance of winning hand) = “Number”
Rule:If the “Number” is greater than “His bet” then you have pot odds to call.If not then fold.
Ex:A player bets $20 into a $50 pot.You have 12 outs of potentially winning the hand.Here is how you figure if you have pot odds to call.
(20 + 50) X (12/47) = ~17.8
The number 17.8 is less than his bet of $20 so you should fold.
Pot Odds Conclusion
Pot odds are not completely necessary to win at No Limit Texas Holdem but become very important in Pot limit poker. Pot limit brings in more odds and statistics and you really need to practice your pot odds calculating skills if you plan to win at PL poker. Because No Limit poker brings in to account a lot of luck and bluffing pot odds are not as important but can still be very useful.