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Understanding Poker Odds

Hands odds

Hand odds are the chance you have to make a hand in poker. In order to calculate the hand odds you need to know how many outs you have to make your hand. An out is an unseen card in the deck that will give you the hand you're hoping for. As a role of thumb (this is not exact), every out gives you about 4 % chance to hit your hand from the flop, and 2 % chance to hit your hand from the turn. These are some example of typical Texas Holdem hands - how many out they give you, and the exact chance of them hitting:

Hand Outs % on Flop % on Turn
  Flush draw   9   35   19
  Open-ended straight draw   8   32   17
  Two over cards   6   24   13
  Gut-shot straight draw   4   17   9
  One over card   3   13   7
  Improve pair to set   2   8   4

Pot odds

Pot odds are the ratio of the amount of money in the pot compared with the call you have to make. If there is $200 in the pot and it takes $20 to call, your pot odds are 10:1. If there is $100 in the pot and it takes $20 to call, then your pot odds are 5:1. A higher ratio means better pot odds. Pot odds are used to determine whether a certain play will be profitable in the long run or not. If there is $200 in the pot and it takes $20 to call, you must win this hand 1 out of 11 times to at least break even. If you make calls like this 11 times, it will cost you $220 and that is exactly what you will get when you win, ($200 + your $20 call). Comparing hand odds and pot odds help you determine whether you should make a call or not. For example, if you're drawing for a flush you have to look at the pot odds. As mentioned above, a flush draw on the flop gives you 35 % chance of hitting the hand, meaning that you will hit about one in three times. Consequently you will need pot odds of at least 3:1 to call. In this case it would be correct to call a $10 bet into a $40 pot (4:1 pot odds), but it would be incorrect to call a $10 bet into a $20 pot (2:1 pot odds).

Implied odds

Sometimes you should disregard the pot odds and look at the implied odds the situation is offering instead. It might be mathematically incorrect to make a call at one stage, but if you're sure that your opponent(s) will put enough money in the pot if you hit your hand, you should make the call.

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