This is very simple to explain. All it boils down to is how much money/many chips do you have to put into the pot and what the return will be.
We at Gamblers Pro feels that true pot odds only really apply with the player making the last bet of a hand. The player knows exactly how much the bet is and what the return will be if he/she wins.
However, many others refer to pot odds midway through a hand. In this instance, it is how much the bet will be to see the next card. Understanding mid-hand pot odds is very important in relation to poker hand odds, as you will find out later in this article.
Example of Pot Odds based on the final bet of a game of Texas Hold’em poker
Say, there are 6 players at the table and the BB (Big Blind) is 100 chips.
Pre-flop – every player at the table calls (and the BB checks) so the total pot is now 600 chips
Pre-turn – first player bets (another 100 chips). 2 players call (100 chips each) and 3 players fold. The pot total now stands at 900 chips.
Pre-river – a player bets 100 chips, 1 player calls (100 chips) and the other player folds. The pot total is now 1,100 chips.
Post-river – a player bets 100 chips – pot total of 1,200 chips.
This is now the pot odds bet/call. The last bet (unless there is a raise) which is made before the cards are shown.
The bet is 100 chips which would make a total of 1,300 chips in the pot.
So, the pot odds are 1:13, or some people say 1:12 and your stake back.
That in a nutshell is final bet pot odds!
Poker Hand Odds
Poker hand odds is the statistical probability of you hitting the card you need, which you believe will win you the hand.
Using the Texas Hold’em version of poker again, we’ll base these hands on the last card, the river, because there are far too many variables to consider if we examine the last 2 cards.
Nevertheless, time to have a look for a better understanding…
You are holding
The flop and turn cards throw out
As you can see, at this point in the hand, you are holding diddly squat!
This is where the lip biting begins. First, let’s assume we believe our oppenent has a couple of bullets up his/her sleeve (as that is the strongest possible hand available).
Now, let’s work out how many outs there are which will win you the pot based on your opponent holding AA.
You need to hit a flush draw. You hold two clubs (K and 7) and there are another two clubs (Ace and 6) on the table.
13 cards are in a suit minus the 4 mentioned above = 9 remaining clubs (see below) are hiding somewhere.
If your opponent is holding AA, then we need to beware of them hitting Uncle Bob’s Full House.
Therefore, the 8 and 2 need to be removed from the calculations because those two cards would give your opponent the edge.
That’s Better! Any of the seven cards (above) will win you the hand regardless of what your opponent is holding. A.k.a. – the nuts!
Next we simply divide the number of unknown cards by the number of possible cards which would would win the hand.
Unknown cards – (52 in a full deck minus 2 (hole cards) and 4 (on the table) = 46 unknown cards.
No. of Unknown cards / No. of possible winning cards
46 / 7 = 6.571
Let’s say 6.5. The odds of hitting one of the seven cards is 6.5 : 1 (meaning you will hit it every 6 and a half times on average)
It is now time to join pot odds and poker hand odds together. Using the pot odds example above. At the start of the pre-river stage there were 900 chips in the pot. One player bets adding another 100 chips, one player folds, so now it is your turn.
The pot stands at 1,000 chips and the bet is 100 to see the last card – pot total will be 1,100 then. You have pot odds of 11 : 1.
And you have poker hand odds of 6.5 : 1
This means you have to call because you are being offered a good deal as you can see.
Imagine if you played this exact hand and the exact pot 650 times. Law of averages (and statistics) tells us you would win 100 times (110,000 chips total won). You would lose 550 times (100 chips X 550 = 55,000 chips lost).
Crystal? Okay, let’s rock on!
Let’s flip hands, you are the one holding AA and you think your opponent is chasing the flush draw.
Same flop and turn cards
Using the same scenario – there are 900 chips in the pot and it is your time to bet.
Knowing that his odds are 6.5 : 1 of hitting one of his seven cards. You need to raise the bet to stop him from calling.
So, you bet 300 chips = 1,200 in total in the pot
It is now 300 for your opponent to see the river card – which would make the pot 1,500
pot odds = 5 : 1
The raised bet have put the odds in your favour.
That ladies and gentlemen is the logic behind knowing how pot odds and poker hands can help you become a much better poker player.