Calculating Pot Odds
One of the most important skills that many poker players avoid completely is calculating pot odds in every hand you play. Whether the decision you’re making is big or small you should always calculate the pot odds you have in the hand so you can determine whether the decision you’re making is a smart decision. The types of hands you need to calculate your pot odds with are the hands when you’re on a draw such as a flush draw or straight draw. We’re going to walk you through a couple examples right now which will help you learn how to calculate pot odds.
Your Hand – Ace of Hearts & King of Hearts
The Board – Ten of Hearts, Four of Hearts & Two of Spades
In the above example you haven’t hit anything yet, but you have the nut flush draw. In order to calculate your pot odds in this hand you need to do several things. The first thing you need to do is find out how many outs you have. In the above example you can hit any heart to hit your flush which means you have 9 possible outs in the hand out of 47 cards. Since you need to do the math quickly you won’t be able to find out the exact percentage you have to hit the flush, but you can quickly determine you have about a 20% chance of hitting the flush.
The next thing you need to do is find out how much money is in the pot and how much the bet is to you. If the pot has $100 and your opponent bet $10 then the total amount of money in the pot is $110. Since you only need to call $10 you need about a 10% chance of hitting your draw to make it worth calling the bet. Since you have about a 20% chance of hitting the flush you should definitely call the bet.
Your Hand – King of Hearts & Ten of Spades
The Board – Queen of Diamonds, Jack of Hearts & Four of Clubs
In the above example you have an open ended straight draw that you could hit if an ace or a nine comes up. This means that you have 8 possible outs in the hand out of 47 cards. In this example you have about a 17% chance of hitting your straight after you do the calculations listed in the first example. If the pot has $60 and your opponent bets $20 into the pot there would be a total of $80 in the pot. Since you need to call $20 you would need a 25% chance of hitting your draw to make the call worthwhile. Since you only have a 17% chance to hit the straight you aren’t getting the pot odds to make the call. You could make the call if you’re feeling lucky, but based on the math you’re going to lose money over the long-term by making this type of call.