Poker Pot Odds And Probability

How much does pot odds affect your hand-to-hand play? Are you getting the pot odds to call a bet? This is a question you are constantly asking yourself at the table and becomes second nature after a while. Where pot odds becomes really useful is when you already have a lot of money invested in a pot, so even though you may think you dont have the best hand, if you have enough outs to make the best hand you may be getting the odds to make the call which would be profitable in the long term. Heres what I suggest as a first approximation for beginners.

1) Count how many outs your hand has. Make sure to count only the outs that will give you a likely winning hand.
2) Know how much of an underdog you are based on the number of outs. There are a few numbers that come up quite often, so memorize those. Youll be able to approximate others that you need on the fly. This will tell you that youre an x: 1 underdog.
3) Know how many bets are in the pot (y). You can count them as theyre put in as the action progresses, increment your count.
4) If there are more bets in the pot than you are an underdog (if y > x), you have the pot odds to continue.

There are books with charts that convert outs to odds but I really dont think its necessary.
If you want to figure it out yourself, heres how:
There are 52 cards in the deck. Youve seen 2 of them in your hand and either 3 or 4 of them on the board. That leaves either 46 or 47 unknown cards. Call this U.


You have G good cards that can help you (your outs). That leaves U-G = B bad cards that wont help you.
The odds of hitting your hand are B/G: 1.
For example, say you have a 4-flush on the turn. There are 46 unseen cards left. 9 of them make your hand. 37 of them dont make your hand. You are a (37/9): 1 underdog, which is 4. 1: 1. If there are 4 or more bets in the pot, you have a clear call.

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