Pot
Odds are perhaps the most
drastically under used strategic
methods of poker analysis
among new players. It should
first be recognized that the
importance of pot odds and
the edge they can statistically
endow to those that properly
use them is significant. Improper
use of pot odds is a common
mistake of new players and
will not yield the same amount
of success that pot odds truly
can have on ones average game.
Implied odds are very closely
tied with pot odds and the
two combined can strengthen
each other even more.
When first using pot odds
it can be a bit tricky and
hard to do, but the simple
fact is that it requires a
good amount of practice
to become good at an effective
speed. The general idea behind
pot odds is the use of mathematics
to help you determine if
the risk is comparable to
the payoff and the chances
of actually winning. The
best way to understand this
is through an example and
if this is your first experience
with pot odds then don’t worry if you need to read
it twice, it is complicated and very difficult to put simply in words.
Our example is that you have
two cards of a similar suit
in your hand at the same time
two more cards of that same
suit are in the flop. Now
you have a flush draw or a
four flush. The probability
that you actually make that
flush is the number of cards
left in the deck of that suit
that you could actually use.
Now the math helps to represent
the cards you in fact can
use against those that will
not help your hand in any
way.
In our example the math
sets up a ratio of 38 to 9,
this is because there are
five cards out of the deck
(the two hole cards and the
three from the flop) the sum
of those numbers is 47 (52
card deck 47 + 5 = 52). The
9 is the result that there
are actually only nine cards
left in the suit that you
need to make your flush. The
38 in our ratio is from 47 – 9,
since the nine is our cards we need and so the 38 represents those numbers we
don’t want. This ratio of 38:9 can be simplified down to 4:1 this number
is recognized as our card odds.
This ratio is only half of
what we need; it can easily
be seen why this could method
could take a lot of time and
practice to be good at just
that first half and determining
your card odds. The second
half is a bit simpler however
can still have some rough
qualities. The next ratio
is based on the money you
stand to make versus the money
you have to risk. Let us say
in our example that the pot
is at $100 and you need to
put in $10 to call. The odds
are therefore 10:1 which are
very good odds since you only
are risking one tenth the
money you stand to make and
as a result you will statistically
make significantly more money
that you will lose in the
long run.
Most odds won’t exist as nicely
which can result in some difficulty in resulting calculations but most of the
time it is not as bad as card odd calculations. Pot odds will also not be as
nice as 10:1 most will be much lower like 4:1 or 3:1 or 2:1 which can make it
much less profitable to take those chances. Now since 10:1 is a greater ratio
than 4:1, based on purely pot odds your decision should be to take the risk.
This coupled with other methods
can really give backbone to
your decisions and help you
making those tough choices.
If nothing else it can help
you remind yourself that you
are making the ‘right’ mathematical
decision even on those bad
beats! |