What Are Pot Odds?


Posted: March 15, 2020

Updated: March 15, 2020

  • Pot odds are the most essential part of the game
  • It's just math and you can quickly learn it
  • Think long term

Here’s a chance to brush up on your poker knowledge. Knowing what pot odds are is an essential ingredient needed to be able to win a game of poker. It’s a very useful weapon. In it’s simplest form, pot odds are the odds of winning when you’re on a drawing hand and you need to decide whether to call the bet or raise.

Introduction: What They Are Pot Odds?

First off, this article assumes that you have some basic knowledge of poker and the terms used. If not, then you can catch up with online poker news in the US. Now, you’ll already be familiar with the situation whereby you find yourself playing Texas Hold’em and you have two cards of the same suit with another two cards from that suit on the flop. This is what’s called a “four flush” and we’ll use it as an example to help us learn about pot odds. Now pay attention!

Math and More Math

Let’s suppose that your hand is Js-Qs and the flop is 10s-3s-4h. Your opponent is on a hand such as A-10. Now, you’re behind because your opponent has a pair and you don’t even have a made hand. OK…so you don’t have the best hand on the flop, but you do have 15 outs (9 flush cards, 3 Jacks, and 3 Queens). All in all, that’s quite a number of outs. So you will not win ever time. In fact you will lose at around 45% of the time. But keep in mind, this is just one hand. You should be looking ahead and not concerning your self with short-term wins or loses. Of course for the biggest wins, you’ll be needing to head over to Intertops Poker. Now, in poker all you decisions should be based on the pot odds. It doesn’t matter if you’re raising, folding, betting or calling.

Calculate the Pot Odds

By playing the odds you’ll end up winning in the long run. Looking at the above example again, your 15 outs should win around 60% of the time and therefore lose 40% of the time. Yeah, yeah, it’s not exact math, but hell, you’re gonna win in the long term if you make the call. But let’s imagine that the turn doesn’t go your way. Let’s say that the turn is a 10c. Whoa…that’s a nasty card! It changes everything and certainly changes the odds. So now you have 8 remaining outs. This means that your odds of winning have plummeted to just 16% (8 outs times approximately 2% per out on the river).

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Pot Odds: Call or Fold

Let’s assume that your opponent bets out. Whatever you decide now should be based on the current pot odds. So, let’s say that there is $100 in the pot. You opponent then bets $50. Which means that you’ll be getting 3:1 on your money ($150 total in pot divided by $50). This is the point where you’ll need to put on your math hat and calculate the pot odds to see if you should call or fold. So in order to break even with pot odds of 3:1, then you’ll need to win at least 25% of the time or 1 in every 4 games (3+1).

Do the Right Thing

But we can already see that your chances of winning this hand have fallen below 25%. According to the math, you should fold. Looking back, on the flop your hand was the favorite. But that turn 10c changed everything. And so fold was the only and the correct option. Now go and practice with some of these online poker sites in the US.

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