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All gambling is based on odds. If the odds of a horse winning a race are 10-to-1 against, you win ten times your bet if the horse you're betting on wins the race. If the horse wins just once for every ten times it loses, you break even. If it wins more often you should win and if it wins less often you come out behind. In most bets, like a horse race, you do not get the opportunity for repeated trials, so you either have to be lucky enough to have placed your bet the one time out of eleven that the horse wins, or you need to continually make bets where the odds of hitting are shorter than the odds you are getting paid off at.

Calculating Pot Odds in Poker

Usually, the bet will be more than $1 to you. Simply reduce the ratio by dividing the size of the pot by the size of the bet to you. For example if there is a $10 bet to you and you have a chance to win a $50 pot, divide 50 by 10 to reach 5-to-1 pot odds. If the pot is $97 and the bet is $25 to you, you are getting about 4-to-1; these calculations do not need to be exact (it's 3.88-to-1 exactly, but this precision is not worth the distraction during an in-game situation).

Implied odds in Poker

Implied odds is the name of the game when it comes to no-limit. Unlike limit poker, a powerful hand that hits in no-limit can win your opponent's entire stack. An example of this that is often used to demonstrate the power of implied odds, is when you're in the big blind, playing deepstack no-limit hold 'em, and the button raises three times the big blind. He accidently flashes his cards, and you can see that he holds A-A. You look down and see that you have pocket sevens. Should you call? Yes! You know that you're terribly behind to his aces, but - and this is the key - those rare times that you do hit your set on the flop, you are likely to win his entire stack. That will usually more than make up for all the times you lose your initial investment of three big blinds.

Using Pot Odds in Poker Games

Once you know how to calculate pot odds, you'll know whether you should call a bet by knowing your odds of winning the hand, also known as poker odds. This can be established by calculating the ratio of cards remaining to cards that will give you the win.

Poker odds most often come into play when you are on a drawing hand. You'll want to know if the odds the pot is offering you are better than your actual odds of hitting your hand. To calculate your odds of making your hand, simply count the number of cards that you can consider to be "outs," cards that will complete your hand, and compare them to the number of cards that remain. For example, let's say you hold AK on a board of 3 9 5 8 and you are convinced your opponent has top pair. This means that any ace or king should give you the pot. This gives you six outs, for the three remaining aces and three remaining kings. Since you know your two cards and the four on the board, there are 46 cards you have not seen, 52 minus six. Out of those 46, six give you the win and 40 do not. This is an odds ratio of 40-to-6, which reduces to about 6.5-to-1. This means you need better than 6.5-to-1 pot odds to continue.

Although these are rough calculations, they still may be difficult to make in a game. For this reason, you should have certain poker odds committed to memory. The most important ones are as follows:Your odds of flopping a set from a pocket pair are about 8-to-1.Your odds of making a flush on the next card if you flop a four flush are about 4-to-1, if you get to see both cards it is closer to 2-to-1.Your odds of making a straight on the next card if you are open-ended are around 5-to-1.If you have four outs with one card to come you are roughly 11-to-1, two outs and you are around 22-to-1, one out and you are 45-to-1. (That one is easy. There are 46 cards in the deck and only one of them helps you, the other 45 do not.)

In a no limit game, you'll also know how much to bet so that opponents aren't getting the right odds to call to try to hit a draw (a pot-sized bet or greater will usually do the trick if you're not sure).

The importance of odds in Texas Holdem

Odds are an important part of Texas Holdem. If you don't know how to calculate hand odds, poker odds and pot odds you will have a hard time playing your Texas Holdem hands correctly in difficult situations. Although many successful poker players claim to play by "feel," a solid grounding in math is vital for successful poker play. Texas Hold'em, like all other forms of gambling, is based on odds.

The likelihood of something happening vs. how much you get paid if it does happen is the basis for all gambling propositions. This likelihood is referred to as odds, and it will be very difficult for you to bet or call bets correctly if you do not understand Texas Hold'em odds.


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