Pot Odds is one of the things that separates
the occasional recreational poker player
from the professional poker player. The
basis is quite easy to understand, however
for a novice calculating them often isnt!
So firstly why do you need to know the pot odds?
Poker is a game of skill, not a game of chance. One of the main skills is understanding value. What this means is how likely am I to win the hand, and if I do win the hand how much will I win?
So if I calculate that I have 10 outs (the number of different cards) which will probably give me a winning hand, the pot is $500 and Im being asked $50 to call, the value bet is to call. Why?
Because you are getting 9/1 on something which is in reality only a 3.6/1 chance. In the long run if you continued to get 9/1 on a 3.6/1 chance you will make a lot of money!! Just think if you went to the racetrack every day and you got odds of 9/1 on horses which in reality won 25% of the time, youd soon be rich. Poker odds are no different.
So how do you calculate the 3.6/1 and 9/1
Well you can calculate your chance of winning by the number of outs as a fraction of the cards you havent seen. So in this case you know what the four communal cards are, you obviously know the two cards that you were dealt, which leaves 46 cards which you havent seen. So you have a 10 in 46 chance or put another way 3.6/1 (46/10)-1) of the final card being one that you want
So it's a 3.6/1 chance that you will get the card that you need. Calculating your return is easy, what fraction of the total pot is your bet, so if your betting $50 for a potential return of $500, that's 10/1.
Obviously this assumes that if you get the card youre looking for then you will win the hand, this is sometimes not the case as your opponent might be looking for the same card as you, and this is something which you should factor into your calculations.
If this all sounds far to complicated then there is an easier way to calculate pot odds in your head, click on this link for instructions!!