Pot Odds and Outs | Basics
Probability and odds are huge factors in Texas hold ‘em. Players use odds to determine their actions. The chances of finishing a flush or even a straight, the probability of acquiring an over card, the percentage of instances you are going to flop a set with your pocket pair are all critical variables in poker. Knowledge of these statistics, or how to compute pot odds and outs, is a key to winning. In online games especially, or games in which your opponents are good at hiding how they play and have few tells, statistical understanding becomes the most important element when selecting whether to bet, call, or fold.
Pot odds choices are some of poker’s most elementary, but making bad decisions in this area is one of the most common mistakes made by amateur players. You’ll almost always discover a player at your table who is making poor pot odds decisions or ignoring them completely, meanwhile paying off the rest from the table.
A critical skill
In Texas Hold ‘Em, you commonly use outs and pot odds much more than anything else to assist you make the correct plays. It is also an excellent idea for poker players to brush up on the minor math skills required to effectively calculate outs and pot odds.
Outs are defined as a card in the deck that helps you to make your hand. At this point it is only easy division. The numerator (top number) will be the quantity of outs you might have. The denominator (bottom number) will be the quantity of cards left that we have not seen. The result is going to be the percentage opportunity of making one of those outs. For that reason, the most math you’ll be doing will be dividing small numbers by 50 (pre-flop), 47 (following the flop), or 46 (after the turn)
Pot odds are as straightforward as computing outs. You compare your outs, or your likelihood of winning, compared with the size of the pot. If your chance of winning is considerably better than the ratio with the pot size to a bet, then you have excellent pot odds. If it is lower, then you have bad pot odds.
For instance, say you’re inside a $5/$10 hold em game with Jack-Ten facing a single opponent on the turn. You have an outside straight draw using a board of 2-5-9-Q, and only the river card left to create it. Any 8 or any King will finish this straight for you, so you’ve got 8 outs (4 8′s and four K’s left inside the deck) and 46 unseen cards left. 8/46 is practically exactly the same as a 1 in 6 chance of making it. Your sole opponent bets $10. In the event you take a $10 bet you could win $200. $200/$10 is 20, so you stand to win 20x much more in case you call. 1/6 higher than 1/20, so pot odds say that calling would be a pretty good idea.
More Advanced Odds
A more advanced move is to use bet odds and implied odds. That’s tougher, since it requires predicting reactions of other players. With bet odds, you attempt to consider also how many people are going to call a raise. With implied odds, you also consider reactions from players in the game. Here is one last example of implied odds in action…
Say it is again a $5/$10 hold em game and you’ve got a 4 flush on the flop. Your neighbor bets, and everyone else folds. The pot is $50 at this point. First you determine your opportunity of hitting your flush on the turn, and it comes out to about 19.1% (about 1 in 5). You have to call this $5 bet versus a $50 pot, so that’s a 10x payout. 1/5 is higher than 1/10, so bet odds are okay, but you should take into account that your opponent is going to bet into you on the turn and river also. That’s the $5 plus two more $10 bets.
So now you are facing $25 much more to get to the end in the hand so you should factor that into your decision. This is an example of the type of choices you’ll continually be faced with in Texas Hold ‘em. For this reason, it is good advice to get extremely familiar with calculating the various odds and pot odds scenarios so that it will become more automatic and be an aid to you in your play. Consider this article only a start on this complex subject and continue to study this important facet of the game if you expect to do well.