The path to conquering your competition on online poker is in gaining as much knowledge as possible about your hand and your opponents, a major part of this is to understand pot odds and how they should impact your betting behaviors. The good news is that you do not have to be a genius at mathematics to calculate pot odds, and I will show you how to do it, it is a fairly simple process.
Most new Texas Hold Em players fail to recognize the importance of betting in-line with what their pot odds are. Good for us, bad for them. Now I assume you know all the simple poker terms that I will be using in this article to explain this concept e.g. outs, drawing hands etc. Hanging onto unprofitable drawing hands is one of the major leaks in many a player’s game. Following strict pot odds to make your draw decisions will help plug this leak!
To explain this concept I will walk you through a few examples.
Let’s You Have – Kc Jc
The Board shows – 2c 10d 5c
This is the point where we need to start calculating how many outs (number of cards in the deck that will make your hand the winning hand) we have. If a club comes up on the board that would give us a King high flush. If a King or Jack comes up we would have top pair. So we’ve worked through our options, now let’s figure out how many outs we have.
There are 9 clubs left in the deck + 3 Kings + 3 Jacks for a total of 15 outs. As far as we are concerned there are 47 cards left in play. So right now our odds of winning the hand are 15 out of 47. If we divide 15 by 47 and then multiply by 100, that will give us a percentage of 31.9%. A simpler way of looking at it is how many times does 15 go into 47, roughly 3 times or a ratio of 3:1.
Now we need to figure out how we are going to apply this knowledge to proceed with betting. If the pot is $50, and the amount and the bet to you is $10 – that is a 5:1 ratio (20%). Given that, we should definitely call or throw out a small raise.
Let’s assume that we are last to act and we call. Next is the turn and Jh comes up.
So not only do we have a pair, it also gave us a couple more outs. Our outs are now:
9 clubs left in the deck + 3 Kings + 2 Jacks 14 outs. If we divide 14 by 46 and times it by 100 we get a percentage of 30% or a ratio of about 3.2: 1. This means that we should call or bet as long as the pot size is more than 3.2 times the size of the call or bet you make. So if the pot is $100 and the bet is $20 to you, that is 5:1 ratio and we should call or raise.
Often you will have to bet to manipulate the pot odds offered to other players. A common example of manipulating pot odds is make a bet to protect a made hand that discourages opponents from chasing a drawing hand.
With one card to come, You have a made hand, but the board shows a potential flush draw. You want to bet enough to make it not worthwhile for an opponent with a flush draw to call, but You don’t want to bet more than you have to in the event the opponent already has you beat. How much should You bet?
Assume a $20 pot and one opponent. If You bet $10 (half the pot), when your opponent acts, the pot will be $30 and it will cost him $10 to call. The opponent’s pot odds will be 3-to-1, or 25 percent. If the opponent is on a flush draw (19 percent with one card to come), the pot is not offering adequate pot odds for the opponent to call unless the opponent thinks he can induce additional final round betting from you if the opponent makes his hand. On the other hand a $6 bet would make your opponent mathematically indifferent to calling.
While pot odds at times can seem a pain to calculate, where one has to keep up with so many cards, rest assured, its well worth the trouble
So how do pot odds help us from losing our chips and winning Huge pots? Let’s start by figuring out how pot odds help us from losing a lot of chips. Let’s say the bet was $50 to us in a $100 pot or 2:1, we are holding a flush draw and have 9 outs, this gives us a 19% chance of catching our card (around 5:1). Since the odds are worse than our odds of winning, we would be over betting our hand and in a position to lose more than we would get for our money, so we would fold our flush draw. Now to use pot odds effectively, using e.g. 1 , If the bet to us on the flop is $10 into a $100 pot we would call instantly as we have a flush draw and the possibility to catch top pair, all up we have 15 outs and we are getting a bargain as we are calling 10:1 ratio when our odds to win the pot are better than that. Since the bet is $10 we could still raise the pot up to $39 and be betting in accordance to our probability of winning the hand. Pot odds allow us to make large bets with confidence knowing that we are playing probabilities. So we raise to $35, that puts extra pressure on your opponent and he at this time may feel he is already beat, so you could take the pot right here. However there is still a large possibility you will still win the hand if your opponent calls, If someone was limping in with $10 into a $100 pot chances are they are fishing for one or two cards, where we have 15 cards that can help us.
Being able to increase bets when you have many outs or fold when the action is raised too high will allow you to minimize bad beats and give you chip leverage to take large pots when you hit your hand.
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Finally, the most painless way I have found to memorize the common pot odds numbers is to print out or write down your cheat sheet, which can be found on the internet if you cant find please contact me and I will be happy to provide you with one, and refer to it as you play poker online. You will find yourself having to refer to it less and less, and eventually, not at all.
I’ve shown how to calculate pot odds and make wiser bets now combine this with good poker math, solid strategy and a lucrative poker bonus code here and there and you will see some major improvement in your poker bankroll!