This is a discussion on I don't understand pot odds? within the online poker forums, in the Learning Poker section; I've been playing $3.50 fifty50's on PS and I'm really struggling to make a profit. I think a huge flaw in my game is that 


#1




I don't understand pot odds?
I've been playing $3.50 fifty50's on PS and I'm really struggling to make a profit. I think a huge flaw in my game is that I don't use pot odds, never have, I don't understand it. I've read so many articles on pot odds, but I've never been good at maths.
Is there a simpler way of working them out? Should I use them in every hand I enter? Do you use them only 2 handed? Preflop, post, turn and river? I'm so confused! Educate me! 
Similar Threads for: I don't understand pot odds?  
Thread  Replies  Last Post  Forum  Thread Starter 
Turn & River combined odds obsolete?  23  23rd November 2014 7:59 PM  Learning Poker  JKawai 
#2




you have to use it when you are going to put money in the pot
you can read this article here on CC https://www.cardschat.com/oddsfordummies.php 
#3




I have read up on them and it is very mathematical...
If poker was pure maths nobody would play online anymore because the person with the best poker software would just clean up ! I read an article recently by a top poker pro that complained that computer software assistance was giving an unfair advantage to players In these circumstances software assistance would help Pot Odds is a mathematical algorithm that dictates if you make a certain bet with certain odds then over a particular amount of hands it will be profitable or something along them lines... But, I think in most cases... People will ignore pot odds and employ gut feelings and just bet based on gut instinct ! Pot Odds can't legislate for people bluffing against you... There is a lot of mathematics in Poker ! but don't disregard the human element... try to marry the 2 elements and make the right decisions ! Good luck ! 
#4




Pot odds can be confusing, if you are new to it the rule of 4 and 2 can be a good starting place. They wont give you a guaranteed method to profit, as Tosh says poker is as much a game of reading people as it is of reading cards. When a third card of a suit falls down and your opponent bets hard, he may have hit a flush, he may be bluffing, or he may hold one high card in that suit and be semibluffing, gut instinct and previous knowledge of your opponent will play as big a part as pot odds as to whether you call, fold, or raise.
Poker software will give you pot odds as you play, but you should remember these odds are odds for your hand to improve not odds that your hand will win at showdown. For example if you are holding the J T of diamonds and the flop has the 4 and 5 of diamonds and the Ace of hearts software will grant you 9 outs a 4:1 or 20% chance of making a flush but that's not win odds, as a higher flush or other hand may still beat you. Also pot odds as worked out by most software is only meant to be a rough guide, it is not strict or precise mathamatics of probability as it does not consider or account for unseen cards. For example in the above flush draw lets say there were 9 players involved, there are 16 cards with your opponents and one burned for the flop, we have 9 outs "only" if none of those 17 unseen cards are a diamond which is highly unlikely. Calculating bet/call sizes is not an exact science as not all players use software to calculate odds and so some do it differently, some tournament players calculate odds relative to their stack size, for example if they have a hand with 33% chance to win they will play it for any amount up to one third of their stack regardless of what is in the pot; they have more interest in overall game equity than individual hand equity. Another opponent on a flush draw may think because 25% of the cards are diamonds every card he is dealt has a one in four chance of being a diamond therefore he believes he has 25% for the turn and 25% for the river, an optimistic outlook giving him much greater odds than what the software grants him. Compensating for individual variations such as these is very difficult when making precise mathamatical predictions. Studying the maths will certainly help and guide you but in the long run mathamatics alone won't win poker, if that was so bots would always win. Poker combines experience, skill, luck, and gut instinct, if I sit at your table I will understand the maths, the odds, fold equity, icm etc, BUT I am a gambler I take risks I like the buzz there is no calculating what I might play I don't play much 50/50 if I did I would only use pot odds in the early stages as a very loose guide (if at all), in other SnG or MTTs I would rely on them a little more while the effective stacks were high compared to the blinds. Pot odds become more important to me in deep stack NL cash games, and they become very important to me when I play limit games, it is very difficult to be successful in limit holdem without good understanding and application of pot odds. I wish you very good luck. 
#6




re: Poker & I don't understand pot odds?
Hi Slavva,
Maybe I can explain, you don't need to fully understand pot odds to play poker. I know plenty of players that don't use pot odds directly, they use their intuition to decide whether to call or fold and that can work very well. For example you have 500 chips there is 400 in a pot and you have a flush draw on the turn needing 1 diamond to make a hand, I bet 40 you intuitively think 40 isn't much it's good value, I have a good chance, it's worth it and if it goes wrong I still have nearly 500 chips to play a few more hands. But if I bet 400 you intuitively think that's a big bet I have a good chance but it's not good value, if I don't get a diamond I have only 100 left I will be crippled I can't risk that much I don't even have a pair, it's better to wait. A player that has never studied pot odds will think like that and learn pot odds intuitively as he plays without ever reading up on it. The numbers I have given make it fairly easy to know whether to fold or call even an early beginner would know. Then as time goes by a person becomes more experienced their intuition becomes more finely tuned and they automatically apply that strategy to much more complex situations. So you might not think you understand pot odds you may have never even heard the term pot odds, but if you play poker you will have made decisions like the one above many many times and in that sense you do understand and use pot odds intuitively. A player not using intuition could use mathamatics, poker software, or a calculator to see that in the example above the pot lays odds of 11:1 (8.3%) and 2:1 (33%) respectively. Your odds of filling your flush are approx 4:1 (20%) so 11:1 is bigger call it, 2:1 is smaller fold it. It is the same result but the pure mathamatical solution unlike the intuitive player hasn't considered stack odds regarding being healthy to carry on or being crippled in future hands which is very important in tournaments and 50/50 SnGs. 
#7




Kelly nailed it pot odd is basically how much $ is in the pot, say $10 and it cost you $2 to call it you are getting 51 on your money. there are different ways to figure pot odd figuring your outs (cards you need to make hand straight or flush etc) fig the % say your flush draw 20% you would need the pot odd to be like $20 into a $100 pot. more advanced would be implied odds but that's deeper though math stuff gl I hope this helps

#8




I am very bad at maths!! I found it easier to work with pot odds charts, remember what odds you need to complete your draw.
Lets say we have a flush draw on the flop amd we are looking at a $100. The pot is $500. so 500/100 = 5. We are getting 5 to 1 to hit 1 of our 9 outs. When you look at the poker odds charts, waiting on 1 card on the flop to hit our flush is 4.2 to 1 so we can call. Your pot odds has to be greater than 4.2 to 1. On the pot odds chart waiting for 1 card to hit our flush we need 4.1 to 1 to hit so if we missed on the turn and we are getting less than 4.1 to 1 then we fold. Hope that helps, GL The link that Archer gave you, is a good one, so I would give that a read 
#11




Hi Meagain,
You are very close to correct maybe you only need to study a little Quote:
Pot odds in this sense are not the actual relationship of probability to loose/win compared to the amount in the pot. Instead they show us "only" the probability of our hand improving by showdown. But improving may not win or we may even win without improving. If you look at EvertonGirl's example the pot odds would be exactly the same whether she was on the nut flush or a very low flush draw, but her equity and chance of winning in the hand would clearly be different for each. It is win odds that give us the probability of loose/win compared to the amount in the pot by calculating our equity in the hand. Lets say You have AC TD The flop is TH 6H 8H In this hand you have 5 outs 2 Ts and 3 Aces 8.4:1 (10.6%) for the turn and 3.9:1 (20%) to the river. IF you were to consider pot odds alone you need the "chance" to win 100 chips every time you invest 20. 20 chips in lose, down 20 20 chips in lose, down 40 20 chips in lose, down 60 20 chips in lose, down 80 20 chips in win 100, break even. But you can't just consider pot odds alone, win odds are more important here. Looking on the bright side your hand could hold up and win with your pair, or your hand might improve to win. On the down side even if you get 1 of your outs and improve there is about a 4:1 chance you will meet a flush and usually it beats you, there is almost 5:1 chance you will meet 2 pair sometimes they will beat you sometimes not, 1 in 8 times you will meet trips a straight or full house. When you do the maths and weigh the risk on all of that your win odds are about 60% against 1 opponent with a random hand, and even 40% against 2 opponents, it is a very different outlook than if you just considered pot odds alone. If you put your opponents on a range and assume they would only play 20% of their hands instead of random hands then your win odds for that hand reduce to 55% against 1 opponent and 33% against 2. 
#12




re: Poker & I don't understand pot odds?
I played this hand a few days ago.
PokerStars  $2+$0.2075/150 Ante 20 NL  Holdem  9 players Hand converted by PokerTracker 4 CO: 3,229 (VPIP: 14.29, PFR: 14.29, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 7) BTN: 15,061 (VPIP: 31.91, PFR: 21.74, 3Bet Preflop: 15.00, Hands: 48) Hero (SB): 4,877 BB: 1,576 (VPIP: 23.68, PFR: 15.79, 3Bet Preflop: 10.53, Hands: 38) UTG: 4,707 (VPIP: 15.69, PFR: 5.88, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 53) UTG+1: 6,997 (VPIP: 2.13, PFR: 2.17, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 48) MP: 8,313 (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 3) MP+1: 8,760 (VPIP: 46.34, PFR: 39.02, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 42) MP+2: 7,937 (VPIP: 37.50, PFR: 6.25, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 16) 9 players post ante of 20, Hero posts SB 75, BB posts BB 150 Pre Flop: (pot: 405) Hero has A♠ Q♠ UTG raises to 300, fold, fold, fold, MP+2 calls 300, fold, BTN calls 300, Hero calls 225, fold Flop: (1,530, 4 players) K♦ 5♠ 7♠ Hero checks, UTG checks, MP+2 bets 765, fold, Hero calls 765, fold Turn: (3,060, 2 players) 5♥ Hero checks, MP+2 bets 3,900, fold Hero mucks A♠ Q♠ (One Pair, Fives) MP+2 wins 3,060 On the flop I was getting 3 to 1 for my nut FD and I called because I have 12 outs. 9 for the flush and 3 for an A. For 12 outs I needed 2.9:1 and I was getting 3.00:1. Unfortuately I missed the turn and had to fold. I was getting 1.81:1 and needed 2.8:1. Just remember how attractive your hand looks if you are not getting the odds to chase by the river, just let it go. 
#15




At the start dont expect to be able to do pot odds off the top of your head in the middle of a game. Instead do it when reviewing hands after a game, that way you can take as much time as you need and will fully absorb it. Then in time it will come naturally to you in game! Best of luck

#16




Quote:
I normally use slice, I had a look at Equilab it seems really good, lots of good features I will try it out and maybe change to it. What would Equilab say about EvertonGirl's hand. On the turn with the pot offering 1.81:1 (35.6%) would it indicate a clear fold? What odds would it say you need to call there would it be somewhere between the 1.8:1 (35.6%) and 2.8:1 (26.3%)? 
#17




Good Tip Raggamuffin. As practice when I am out of a hand, I will try to put a player on a hand and calculate the pot odds as if I am playing that hand. I find this keeps me engaged in the table, helps me learn about my opponents and gives me a better understanding how to play them later.

#18




re: Poker & I don't understand pot odds?
Thanks Floppy! I think so too! Ive tried doing it with a pen and paper mid hand too but for turbos and rush its just not doable. So for me I think the trick is learning pot odds, implied odds and drawing outs/odds away from the table when your less stressed and can give it your full attention!

#19




Hi Ragamuffin and CallmeFloppy, great advice guys it takes a lot of experience/practise before it becomes automatic in play. When I started I just used the rule of 4 to 2 it's not precise but not too far off and gets you thinking along the right lines. Like CallmeFloppy I always try to keep my mind in a game even when I'm out of the hand. Sometimes I bring up games I'm not playing just to watch especially before I move up a buyin.
I like studying hands people post too, like with EvertonGirl's hand I try to put the villain on a hand, what was he playing? He has 50bb, high VPIP, low PFR so maybe he will call a Min raise fairly loose pre flop. On the flop his stack is large enough that he could easily make a pot size bet to chase off the draw but he doesn't he makes a half pot bet almost like he wants to add value, then he bets huge on the turn to induce a fold why not another value bet what is he afraid to see on the river? Can anyone work out what he is holding? 
#20




I think my villain more than likely had a weak king with him flatting. I don't think he had AK as I believe he would of raised pre being a passive player they normally only 3bet AA KK and AKo/s
Assuming he is a thinking player he may of known I was chasing a flush and didn't want to give me the odds of getting that magic card. A lot of passive players bet a lot when they have a very good hand and min bet when they have hit a bit of the board or not at all which also makes me think a weak king. A 5 could definitely be in his ramge. 
#21




King low or A5 would be my guess too.
What do you think of the odds in this hand, on the flop I bet 735 giving pot odds of approx 2.4:1 (IP 29%) trying to stop a straight or flush draw but the villain kept coming, I think maybe he has 6♦ and 7♦ or similar with 15 outs for both draws, but no lol. Then he bets big on the turn now I think I could be behind to a flush or house, I have a lot of outs I called, should I have folded? No Limit Holdem Tournament PartyPoker 6 Players $10.00 PVT Stacks: UTG Kelly60 (5,365) 54bb UTG+1 Player3 (4,040) 40bb CO Player4 (1,215) 12bb BTN Player5 (8,910) 89bb SB Player1 (2,265) 23bb BB Player2 (1,090) 11bbBlinds: 50/100 PreFlop: (150, 6 players) Kelly60 is UTG A♦ Q♥ Kelly60 raises to 250, Player3 calls 250, 1 fold, Player5 calls 250, 1 fold, Player2 calls 150 Flop: 4♦ 5♦ Q♠ (1,050, 4 players) Player2 checks, Kelly60 bets 735, 1 fold, Player5 calls 735, Player2 folds Turn: 4♦ 5♦ Q♠ Q♦ (2,520, 2) Player5 bets 2,520, Kelly60 calls 2,520 River: 4♦ 5♦ Q♠ Q♦ 2♦ (7,560, 2) Player5 goes allin 5,405, Kelly60 calls 1,860 Final Pot: 14,825 Kelly60 shows A♦ Q♥ Player5 shows 6♣ 7♣ Kelly60 wins 11,280 (net +5,915) Player5 collects 3,545 (net 5,365) Player2 lost 250 Player3 lost 250 
#23




If you are trying to complete a hand that you believe will put you in the winning position, and the odds are 5to1 against you 'making' that hand, then you need there to be at least $5 already in the pot (that means ALL of the pot, including the money you already put in it yourself) for every $1 you put in. That is just to break even, over the long run.
Suppose you make such a play 6 times, each time putting $1 into a $5 pot, making the total pot $6 each time. Since the odds are 5to1 against you, that means you win, on average, one time out of the six. So you gave up $1 six times for a total of $6 you paid out. You win the the $6 pot one time, so you break even  $6 out and $6 in. To use pot odds, you have to learn how to count outs (the unrevealed cards that will make your hand), while being careful not to count cards that may help others more than yourself. Once you have the number of outs, there are charts you can use to tell you what pot odds you need to play the hand. Just a little more advanced is the idea of 'implied odds'. That means you can count someone else's bet as if it were in the pot even though they have not gone yet, because they are very, very predictable about always calling the bet in certain situations. I am a newbie so I have not learned a lot yet, but at least one respected expert on Limit holdem, a man named Ed Miller, says pot odds are most useful in situations with marginal hands, such as medium or smaller pairs. For anything where you have 8 outs or better, he says the hand is strong and you should tend be aggressive. This is all math, and I admit I really like math. But poker is not blackjack. It is not just math. It is more of a people game, and our opponents frequently do things the math says they should not do, like playing unsuited Q8 and making a straight on the river. Nevertheless, the math is a good starting point, I think. 
#24




re: Poker & I don't understand pot odds?
An oversimplification of pot odds in my opinion relates to your expected return and grading your hand. Barring software statistics when it comes down to making a call for a pot, you have to personally appraise and grade your hand to the cost and potential return. If a pot sits at say 800 dollars and it's 20 dollars to call for the river and you are chasing a flush you can return 40x an investment for a "rough" 25% chance it will come and win (considering your opponent is not suited your way) where a 4x payout is considered fair for your investment. *This is a steal of a bet* Think of a blackjack table where you get paid 10 to 1 for beating the dealer (the equivalent of this scenario 40x/4x=10x) you'd sit there all day ie take those odds on the table.
So in short if you are looking for a protocol. 1) Look at the bet to call (x) and the price of the pot (y) 2) Calculate (x+y)/(x) = payout ratio 3) Determine does your payout ratio exceed your confidence of winning the hand. 4) If payout ratio > than hand confidence take the bet, if not fold 5) Rake in the money on "good bets" and stay away from bad. 
#25




Hi Duecesdown,
Quote:

#26




Hi John,
Thank you for the links. I downloaded the free calculator it works well. Do you know what hand ranking it uses? It's not one I'm familiar with it seems to rank the top 10% in this order. Code:
AA,KK,AKs,QQ,AKo,AQs,JJ,TT,99,AJs,AQo,88,ATs,77,KQs,AJo,66,A9s,KJs,A8s,ATo. I'm looking forward to reading your book especially chapter 4 Glorious Poker Math Cheers, Kelly60 
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Turn & River combined odds obsolete?  23  23rd November 2014 7:59 PM  Learning Poker  JKawai 