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The Pot Odds in Poker

When it comes to poker, you could opt to play like a complete newbie, relying on luck and chance to hand you the poker chips on a silver platter. On the other hand, you could also play using poker strategies that will help you finish your session with a net profit at the end. If you prefer the latter method of playing poker, you have to know about one fundamental concept of poker theory - pot odds.

The amount of money in the poker pot will most probably be higher than anything you're going to bet so you don't really have to win every single round to end up with more cash than when you began. Pot odds are probabilities that are calculated using the amount of money currently in the pot and the amount that you're about to bet, disregarding any future bets. With pot odds, you can clearly see what moves are good given the circumstances. Pot odds are best used when you're thinking of taking a big risk or going after a stronger hand.

You can figure out the pot odds by multiplying the sum of your intended bet and the current pot by the probability of your getting a winning hand in the next round. If the resulting number is higher than your intended bet, it's a reasonably good move to make, while the converse is also true. If, for example, you want to bet $20 to win $40 with a 15% chance for the winning hand, your calculation would look like [($20 + $40) * 15% = $60 * 15% = $9]. $9 is obviously a lot lower than $20, so you can see that the bet isn't a good idea.

For even better results, you can try using pot odds along with other poker theory concepts like expected value. The more poker theory you end up using at a poker game, the clearer your idea of your chances of winning and profiting from the endeavor. Although pot odds are more about helping you distinguish good bets from the bad, it's still an excellent poker strategy. Since you can't really be assured that you'll be winning consistently, you might as well learn to recognize when that winning combination arrives.

All in all, the concept of pot odds isn't as obvious or physical as card counting. However, because it deals with other important aspects of the game - the mathematics and the betting system - it's still a good concept to keep ready.