What are Pot Odds?

POT ODDS: Now that we know how to calculate outs and figure out the chances or odds of hitting the required cards to make (complete) our hand, we will shift focus to examining the size of the pot. For example, if there is $100 in the pot, we are faced with the flush draw situation that we just explored and we figure our opponent has a straight. Therefore, we need to hit our flush in order to win the pot. Our opponent bets $50. That means there is $150 in the pot now and we have to call $50 to win that amount. $50 to win $150 translates to 3-to-1 odds. Again, what are the chances of hitting our flush in terms of percentage? About 19%, based upon our gouge (‘rule of thumb‘) ‘rule of 2 and 4‘ calculations for a single card draw. However, if we remained in the hand all the way to the river and had yet another chance at hitting or completing our hand – that would translate to roughly 36%. 36% is slightly better than 2-to-1 odds (33.333% being 2:1 of course). So we can deduce that we are getting paid 3-to-1 on a 2-to-1 draw. Sound reasonable? Yes, it is. But as we deduced above, the answer to anything in poker is often ‘it depends’. It is good if our opponent has all of his money committed to the pot and we are not on-the-hook for another round of betting (which would make it even more expensive for us to call on the river). Prior to acting on your calculations, consider how situations like this are likely to play out before you commit yourself to getting involved in a process that it not yet complete. Think it all the way through.

There is another way to view odds that can be even more interesting. With pot odds we are assuming no more money is going to be placed into that pot when we calculate the percentages. What if we had some disguised hand that our opponent was not likely to put us on? We might call a long-odds draw in a situation where we believe that we will win the pot, AND ALL OF THE OTHER PLAYERS CHIPS (THEIR ENTIRE STACK) – if we hit our draw. These are what are called ‘implied odds’ and are discussed under a different title in the FAQ’s.


Posted in: Poker, Poker Terms