Pot odds are a crucial deciding factor in poker play.
Pot odds refers to the relationship between the size of the pot and the size of the bet. For example, if there is $10 in the pot and you have to call a $2 bet, then you are getting pot odds of 5-1. If you have to call a $5 bet in the same $10 pot, you are getting pot odds of 2-1.
The Size of the Pot
You should always be aware of pot size. If you are playing Limit poker, you count the number of bets in the pot instead of the amount of money. When the bets double, as in Hold’em, you count the big bets as two small bets. If you are playing Pot-Limit or No-Limit, it is a little bit harder to count the pot and, as a result, the odds will not be as exact. Regardless, you must still do it.
How to Use Pot Odds
Once you know your pot odds, you must use this information appropriately. You do this by connecting the pot odds to the value of your hand. This means you are able to put your opponents on likely hands and understand your chances of making a better hand than theirs.
For example, you have a flush draw on the flop in Hold’em and you are up against an opponent who you think has at least top pair. There are nine cards (usually referred to as outs) that will give you a flush when you have flopped a four flush.
As you can see in the table below, nine outs give you a 35% chance (2-1 against) of making the flush on the turn and river combined. This means that you need at least pot odds of 2-1 to call a bet on the flop.
Implied odds are defined as the relationship between the size of the current pot and the pot you are expected to win. This means that occasionally the pot does not lay the correct odds even when you decide to play because you expect to get further action and win more when you hit your hand.
For example, in Limit Hold’em your opponent bets $20 into an $80 pot and your call gives you pot odds of 5-1 since you are risking $20 to win $100. But, if you expect your opponent to call a bet or raise on the river if you make your hand, your implied odds are 6-1 or 7-1.
A Rule of Thumb for Hold’em and Omaha
Every out gives you an approximate 4% chance of hitting on the turn and river combined. For example, five outs give you about a 20% chance of improving, six outs about 24%, etc.
Outs for Specific Draws in Hold’em and Omaha
Flush draw with two overcards or a straight flush draw 15 outs
Flush draw with one overcard 12 outs
Flush draw 9 outs
Open-ended straight draw 8 outs
Two overcards 6 outs
Gut-shot straight draw 4 outs
Drawing Outs from a Deck of 47 Unseen Cards
Number of Outs % on River