I know, mathematics isn’t my favorite subject either, but figuring out poker odds isn’t rocket science, and once you get a hang of it, is actually fairly easy.
First, we have to talk about the different kind of odds in poker. There are 4 types of odds:
Outs: Outs are simply The number of cards left in the deck that will improve your hand. In holdem, if you have a pocket pair, then there are two cards in the deck (the other two cards of your ranking) that will improve your hand. (There are other cards that will improve your hand, but none that will do so without improving everyone else’s hands as well)
Pot Odds: This is simply the amount you have to bet/call compared to the amount of money in the pot. As an example, if you are playing 5-10, and you are at the end of the game, and someone bets ($10). If there is $80 in the pot, your pot odds are 8 to 1. You have to risk $10 dollars for a chance to win $80. If there is a raise, the odds are now 4 to 1, as you now have to risk $20 to win $80.
Bet Odds: In a nutshell, bet odds are the estimated number of callers in a particular round of betting. For example, if you are one away from a flush with 1 card to come, and you figure on 5 callers at the table during that round of betting, you are getting 5 to one bet odds for that round of betting. You can also use these odds when you bet on the come (before you actually make your hand). With 6 or 7 callers on any particular round, you can bet, providing you are confident they will call your bet.
Implied Odds: This is similar to Pot odds, but it looks at the estimated final results of the pot, when all betting rounds are over. These kind of odds are done with more cards/rounds to come.
Pot odds are important in determining whether to call a draw. When determining pot odds, you must be sure that you are drawing to the NUTS, or close to them. You don’t want to be drawing to a flush, when there is a pair on the board, as you could be drawing dead.
For an easy, and fairly accurate way to calculate your pot odds, without the use of a chart, or any deep mathematics. With 2 cards to come (as in after the flop in hold’em), multiply your number of outs by four. With 1 card to come, multiply your number of outs by 2. For example, if you have an open ended straight draw in Holdem after the flop, you have 8 outs. Multiply 8 by 4 gives you 32, roughly the percentage chance you have of making your hand. The actual odds are 31.5%, which is nearly dead on. If you miss the turn, you now multiply your number of outs by two, 8 times 2 is 16, giving you 16% chance of making your hand on the river.
I know, I know, math stinks. But to be a poker success you must learn some math. Plus, its actual math you can use, not just the abstract kind you learn about in school. Use this to your advantage and get to winning.
Until next time, may the chips fall your way.