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 Pot Odds in Texas Holdem Poker


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Pot Odds in Texas Holdem Poker


Pot odds in Texas Holdem Poker

How to calculate the pot odds

The importance of the poker pot odds in Texas Holdem poker

How to use the pot odds concept

Implied pot odds in Texas Holdem poker


Pot odds in Texas Holdem poker

Definition: the pot odds is the ratio of the current pot size the size of the bet that must be made by a poker player in order to compete for the pot. For ex. if there are 5 players before the flop, no raising, 4 players invest one bet on the flop, then the current pot size is 9 bets. If the last player wants to stay in the pot he has to call a bet. The pot size will be 1 + 9 = 10 bets. In result the pot odds will be 10 to 1. It is said that the pot gives or the pot lays 10 to 1 odds. If on the turn the pot size is $36 and the necessary bet is $4, then the pot in this case gives 40 to 4 or 10 to 1 odds. If on the river the pot is $48 and to call will cost $8, the pot in this scenario will lay 56 to 8 or 7 to 1 odds etc…


The importance of the poker pot odds in Texas Holdem


The importance of the pot odds concept is extremely important to understand and use. It is a very useful tool for a poker player in deciding to call or to fold when he has some kind of a drawing hand. If a player is aware of the pot odds he can make a rational mathematics-based decision, which will guarantee him a positive expectation in his long-term poker gambling.


How to use the pot odds concept


The way to use the pot odds concept is to compare the pot odds with the number of outs available for a player. Suppose a poker player has a straight draw on the turn and he is contemplating the decision of calling or folding. Straight draw gives give him 8 outs – 8 possible cards to complete his draw and give him the best possible hand on the river providing that flush and full house won’t be there. On the turn there are 46 unseen cards. That means that his odds of making his straight on the river are 38 to 8 or 4.5 to 1 against. If the pot size is $30 and the price to call is $6 the pot lays him $36 to 6 or 6 to 1 odds, which are better than 4.5 to 1 odds. A player should make a call because this play will result in positive expectation: (4.5:5.5)x(-1) + (1:5.5)x6 = +0.27bets or a win of $1.62. Thus, in long-term poker gambling, this play will produce on average a win of $1.62 on every $6 bet invested in this situation. On the other hand, if the current pot size is $18 then the pot will lay only 24 to 6 or 4 to 1 odds. In this case calling with the straight draw will be a wrong decision producing a negative expectation: (4.5:5.5)x(-1) + (1:5.5)x4 = -0.09bets or a loss of 54 cents.


In order to justify his draws a poker player must have the pot odds bigger than the odds of making his hand, which determined by his outs. Below is the table that shows break-even pot odds for most common numbers of outs. The numbers given in the table are approximate foe easier memorization.



Break-even pot odds on the turn

Straight draw

Pot odds  5 to 1

Straight draw and an over card

Pot odds  3 to 1

Straight draw and a pair

Pot odds  5 to 2

Gutshot straight draw

Pot odds  11 to 1

Gutshot straigt draw and an overcard

Pot odds  6 to 1

Gutshot and two overcards

Pot odds  7 to 2

Gutshot and the flush draw

Pot odds  3 to 1

Flush draw

Pot odds  4 to 1

Straight flush draw

Pot odds  2 to 1

Flush draw and a pair

Pot odds  7 to 3

Two overcards

Pot odds  7 to 1


The numbers for the break-even pot odds in the table above are given for the draws on the turn. The break-even pot odds on the flop will be roughly two rimes smaller, because on the flop a poker player has two chances – on the turn and on the river – to complete his draws.


Implied pot odds in Texas Holdem poker


The pot odds give a poker player a good indicator for calling with his draws or folding them. However, the pot odds approach does not take into consideration a future action on the next street when a player makes his draw. If a player will make a draw he most likely will win additional bets. These additional bets increase the pot odds a player is facing on the previous street. These increased pot odds are called implied odds – they are implied by the future action and additional win on the next street. Implied pot odds approach makes a poker player’s decision more precise than just a pot odds method.

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Selected References:

David Sklansky Mason Malmuth    Holdem Poker Phil Hellmuth  Jr   Play Poker Like the Pros
Ed Miller  David Sklansky   Small  Stakes Holdem Poker Doyle Brunson   Super System  - A Course in Power Poker
David Sklansky    The Theory of Poker Dan Harrington   Harrington on Poker
Lee Jones    Winning Low Limit Texas Holdem Poker John Vorhaus   Killer Poker
Ken Warren   Ken Warren Teaches Texas Holdem Poker Gide to Bobby Baldwin  Bobby Baldwin's Winning Poker Secrets
Tom McEvoy Shane Smith  Beat Texas Holdem Poker T J Cloutier Tom McEvoy Champiomship Texas Holdem Poker