Getting the Right Odds in Poker

Before we begin, I’d like to make a note of the notation I’ll be using to denote the cards in this article. When I say a card, for example 9h, the first character will be the value of the card, 2-9 or T-A (T stands for ten), while the second character will be the suit of the card, h for hearts, s for spades, c for clubs, and d for diamonds. With that out of the way, let’s get started. In the game of poker, it is really important that you know your odds as you get into a round of poker. You can easily win or lose in the game if you are not careful. For practicing poker you can use pussy 888 as well.

Let’s say you’re playing a no-limit hold’em game with $200 stacks and blinds at $1/2 with 10 players at the table. You’re on the button with Ad 6d and someone in early position raises to $5. Another person calls the raise, you call the raise, and everyone else, including the blinds, fold. The pot is now $18, and the flop comes Kd 7d 2s, giving you a flush draw. The preflop raiser bets $10 which is called by the player before you in the hand. The pot is $38 now and it’s $10 on you to call. What we want to know is do you have good enough odds so that you can call this $10 bet in hopes of making your flush draw profitably? Decisions like this are what separate the skill-based game of poker from luck-based games like roulette or the lottery, so we want to make sure we make the right decision.

Before we can decide whether it’s right to call or fold, we need two pieces of information. First we need to know the odds of making our draw. This is pretty easy, as there are nine diamonds we haven’t seen yet and forty-seven cards we haven’t seen yet, the odds to make our draw on the next hand are 47 to 9, or about 5.2 to 1. The next piece of information we need to calculate is our pot odds, or the ratio of the amount we have to call to what’s already in the pot. Well here since we have a pot of $38 and we need to call $10 to stay in the hand, we have pot odds of 38 to 10, or 3.8 to 1.

When you compare our odds to hit our draw with our pot odds, you’ll notice that the odds to hit our draw are worse than our pot odds. This is to say that we would prefer if our pot odds were greater than our odds to hit our draw. If you don’t understand what I mean by this, then let’s see what would happen if we played this hand over 100 times and called each time.

Of those 100 times, we would hit our draw about 19 times and we would miss about 81 times. Those 19 times we hit our draw, we’ll gain $38 each, and those 81 times we miss our draw, we will lose $10 each. If you do the simple multiplication, you’ll see that 19 times $38 is $722 in winnings, and 81 times $10 is $810 in losses. Over the long run then, we will be losing money on this draw. With this example, it’s easy to see that we would be losing money with our immediate call. Although we might make that loss up in what we gain in bets on the turn and river when we do hit, we can’t be sure because our opponents will sometimes have a bigger flush and usually take our whole stack.

To drive the point home, let’s look at another example with two cards to come instead of one. Suppose we have Qh Th in a $200 stack game with $1/2 blinds as before. Again you are on the button. A player in early position raises to $6 and there are two callers. You also call, and both of the blinds call. The pot is $36 on a flop of Ks Jh 2h, which gives you both an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. Both of the blinds check and the preflop raiser bets $30. He gets one caller, then the next player pushes all in for his entire $194 stack. Let’s analyze the situation and see if we are getting the correct odds to call.

First, the pot odds. It’s $194 to call a pot of $290, or about 1.5 to 1. That part was easy. Now let’s figure out the odds of hitting your draw.

For this draw, you can assume to have nine outs to a flush and eight outs to a straight (an out is just a card that will complete your draw). The chance of hitting your draw on the turn would be 17 out of 47, or about 36% (1.76 to 1). This is slightly incorrect odds, but you also get a chance for 17 out of 46 on the river, which will obviously boost your odds to hit your draw over 1.5 to 1, so you can easily call this bet. You will actually hit your draw about 68% of the time, giving you odds of about 0.47 to 1, which are obviously favorable.

Well that does it for pot odds in no-limit hold’em poker. The key to playing your draws is to make sure you’re getting the right price for your draw, otherwise you’re just slowly bleeding chips in the long run. I hope you’ve learned something from this article, and I wish you the best of luck in your games.

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