How to Calculate Pot Odds
Learning how to calculate pot and card odds quickly is essential to make fast and insightful poker decisions when playing No-Limit Hold’em. Calculating card odds is a different matter, and we will briefly go over it in our review.
This guide for beginners explains how to estimate pot odds as the game unfolds and use that, along with calculating winning odds to know the best move for your hand. Download WPT Global today to your device and let’s start calculating those poker odds.
What are Pot Odds?
Pot odds represent the proportion between the amount needed to call and the size of the pot. Simply put, your pot odds are the number of times your bet is included in the overall pot.
For example, if the current pot has $30 and your opponent wagers $10, the opponent’s bet goes into the whole pot, which is now $40. The $10 your opponent bet is your call amount. Ten is included four times in 40 (the pot size), meaning your pot odds are 4:1.
Pot odds act in unison with various other game elements, including winning (card) odds and future bets (implied odds). Estimating pot odds correctly allows players to see if it is worth it to continue betting or fold.
Pot Odds Vs Implied Odds
Pot odds and implied odds are almost identical. Oot odds give a current estimation of the winning amount without considering future bets, while implied odds includes an estimate of potential future betting.
Say you estimate your pot odds on the flop (during the second round of betting) with a straight draw and see that you are not quite getting the right price for it. That doesn’t mean you should always fold, though, considering there are still two more rounds of betting left, and you can hit a straight on either the turn or river. So, while calling your opponent’s bet on the flop may not seem worth it, your implied odds could indicate you should still call. You still have a reasonable chance of making a straight and being paid off an amount of money on later streets that makes up for calling without the right pot odds earlier.
Implied odds, unlike pot odds, are harder to calculate as they include estimations based on factors like predicted upcoming player bets as well as your card odds.
Use our Poker Glossary for a quick explanation on these and many other common poker terms.
Card Odds or Outs
The remaining cards in the deck that can complete a winning hand are a player’s ‘outs.’ Counting the number of outs gives a good idea of drawing a winning hand on the turn or river
Let’s say you hold Jc 10c on a flop of 3c 6c Kh. You are obviously aiming for a flush, but you need the turn or river to be a club to complete it.
Now, you already know that each card suit is composed of 13 cards (2-10, Jack, Queen,King and Ace). You hold two clubs, and there are two on the table, leaving nine clubs that could be dealt either on the turn or the river.
To work out a percentage value for your winning prospects, you multiply the number of outs (in this case, nine) by four, and you come up with an approximate percentage (36%) for your win probability.
How to Calculate Pot Odds
If you’re playing online, you can always use an odds calculator at hand to estimate your pot or card odds, expected value, or overall win probability. But doing it without a calculator helps you learn and improve new skills, and most of the time, poker is a game of calculation.
If the pot is $50, and your opponent bets $20, now the pot has $70 in it, with $20 for you to call, Divide 70 by 20, the pot odds are 3.5:1.
Using this information, in combination with the likelihood of you making your hand, you can now determine whether a specific call is profitable (or “+EV”).So, with the pot above, the total amount (including your potential call) is $90. Your call is $20, so you need to hit your draw 22.2% of the time to make it a profitable one (20/90).
To recap, calculating pot odds gives a rough idea whether there is value in matching or raising your opponent’s bet. Other factors come into play when computing pot odds, such as card odds, equity (your “share” in a pot, based on the current likelihood (percentage chance) that you’ll win the hand at that point in play), and expected value. Analyzing all these elements within seconds can seem overwhelming at first, but learning how to do it is vital to becoming a competent poker player.
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