Poker Math: Calculating Texas Hold'em Poker Pot Odds For Beginners

Poker Math: Calculating Texas Hold'em Poker Pot Odds For Beginners

Texas Hold'Em Poker is unsurprisingly the entry level game for most poker players; its format is easiest to understand, its odds most simple to calculate and strategy more written about than any other variation. However, as all poker players know, while it may be easy to learn, it is incredibly hard to master; calculating poker odds will go some way to helping you succeed on a regular basis.

Squaring Off Pot Odds with Hand Odds

As helpful sections of websites such as Ladbrokes Pokerand Betfair Poker will tell you, winning consistently at poker is all about working out if your hand is good enough in comparison to others at the table to warrant value by calling or raising. In order to make this evaluation, poker odds are calculated by squaring off pot odds with hand odds.

Pot Odds Explained

Firstly; Texas Hold'em pot odds are expressed using a simple understanding of ratios. They are worked out by setting how much money is already in the pot against how many chips you are being asked to contribute. So, if there was £50 in the pot and it cost £5 to call, the pot odds would be 50:5, or more simply 10:1. This shows you how many times you need to play to break even. If you play 11 times it will cost you £55, but if you win one of those hands you will win £55 – £50 plus your £5 stake. Therefore, the higher the Texas Hold'em pot odds the more likely you are to turn a profit.

Hand Odds Explained

Now you have to combine these pot odds with your hand odds to get a full understanding of Texas Hold'em odds. Hand odds are essentially the practical calculation of how likely you are to hit a winning hand. For example, if you are dealt Ace, King of Hearts and the Flop comes down Ten, Jack of Hearts and Four of Clubs, you can work out your hand odds as follows. You have four Hearts, so you only need one more to make a Flush; there are nine possible Hearts remaining, so you have a 9/47 chance of hitting your flush.

Furthermore, you have an inside straight draw, whereby a Queen will also make you a potentially winning hand. Discount the Queen of Hearts you have already counted and that is three more cards that can help. You therefore have a 12/47 chance of making a hand you think will win the hand – roughly 4:1. In the example given above, where your pot odds are 10:1, the right play would be to call here, because the pot odds exceed those of your hand odds. In other words, if you played these probabilities over a period of time, you would win more times than you would lose.

An application of basic maths to Texas Hold'em Poker odds will give you an understanding of when or when not to play your cards. Poker odds – in their most fundamental form – are relatively simple; if your pot odds are larger than your hands odds, the correct decision is to call every time.

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