Pot Odds for beginners


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    • #24055
      Jake Witcher

      For those of you new to poker and slightly confused by the math here is a simple way to calculate your percentages

      now, taking a few things a given at the start of this.
      1> we are always trying to make a profit and not just break even. That profit should always be worthy, (making a 1% margin on a bet does not make us rolled to spin it with Ivey anytime soon).
      2> im going to be giving rough numbers and if when you work out your pots and you find it a close call, that means your not in decent profit situaion and maybe should consider waiting for a better spot.


      there are 52 cards in a deck, IF we call it 50 cards, that makes it a per card value of 2%
      for one turn of the card you take the number of outs (cards that make you win the pot) and multiply it by 2 (the percentage) and add 1 (note: you only add 1 once, if there are two turns of the card to come, turn and river, just add 1 once, not twice)
      if there are two turns of the card (turn and river) then number of outs, times 2 and times two again for the second turn of the card
      so 9 outs (flush draw) with just the river to come is 9 x 2 + 1 = 19% (true odds 20.45%)
      9 outs (flsuh draw) with turn and river to come is 9 x 2 x 2 +1 = 37% (true odds 37.77%)

      now when you count your outs, very important to ONLY count outs you know are good. (the better you get then the more sure things like over cards can be outs)

      so for example you have a flush draw with 2 cards to come and the following situation is thus

      10k in the pot, you have 9h,Th on a 2h,3h,7x board and you are sure that you opponent is winning at this point in time, (say pocket jacks as an example)
      your opponent moves all in for 2.5k meaning you have 2.5k to call into a pot of 12.5k and with no further betting.

      the pot odds are 5-1 (2.5k to win 12.5k)
      your winning percentage is roughly 37% so very roughly 2-1

      this is a bet we like and should take as many times as we can afford to

      now another example.
      same situation same pot size (10k) but now you oppones bets 3k and has another 75k left behind after that bet. (you have 30k total)
      now this changes things as he can bet again. just as you are thinking about what to do, you look up at your opponent and notice this weird manical twitch, the sort of twitch that says, if there is no heart on the turn im moving all in bitch! and i may do it anyway, just cos im that crazy. (scary one this one, but bet hes a softy away from the table!) his name is Negreanu or something like that, some Canadian guy called Daniel anyway.

      now you face a 3k bet into a 13k pot, so a little better than 4-1 but not much
      but you are fairly sure your going to be facing a bet on the next card of a heart doesnt fall.
      so the odds of you hitting on this one card are almost exactly 4-1 (20% good 80% bad)
      but thats a break even bet, sure you may be winning a couple of % but what if kid poker over there is actually bluffing and he has AQ hearts, your in deep doo doo now.,
      so maybe folding and waiting for a better spot is appropriate.

      now one thing does change, and thats a little thing called implied odds. in short this is the money you can win on further betting IF you hit you card and IF the other person bets. (and very important if you play for it it must happen otherwise you were wrong, and its one of the biggest mistakes i see players make, they say, oh i had implied, but then everyone checked or folded,, in that case there was NO implied, they didnt bet !)
      In the above case, he may look all wild and crazy but hes not putting another dime into this pot if a heart comes, (notice how he knew exactly the right price to charge you to make it as tempting as possible but also unprofitable, when its unprofitabel for you, its profitable for them)

      as we can see from above, its no point betting if all you are going to do is break even. however if the situation is that you know 100% that the guy is going to put his chips in on the river, OR call any bet you make then you are betting 3k at 4-1 to win all of the rest of his chips. (27k more, the 30k you started with – the 3k you just called) this is now 3k to win 40k and thats a great spot to be in, Intervention dreams of these spots i guarantee it. 13-1 return on a 4-1 shot,, as we say in the UK, ‘Thats Gravy’

      now since we can see how we should call bets based on return. now we should also make bets to prevent others from having these returns (ever wondered why you see so many half and third pot bets when you watch TV, well thats why)

      i see so many beginners bet 2k into a 15k pot, well thats offering 8.5-1 to the other player, not many hands can be folded there. As you can see from above, betting correctly is as (if not more) important than calling correctly.

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