Poker Math



Thanks again for the help. Sometimes I feel stupid when it comes to ratios. I know how to figure them out, but then comparing two ratios together to determine what's better, I get hung up.

So 5:1 odds of hitting hand is WORSE than say 3:1 pot odds. I think I've got it now.

I've been playing that wsop on XBox360. I like how at each hand it gives you pot odds, then it calculates your chance of hitting each hand. So if you think you need a flush to beat your opponent, it calculates the odds for you. Pretty helpful in terms of learning.

Thanks again! I love playing. I knew there was more to this game than luck - but I thought playing the man meant just playing the man. Never realized so much of it was calculated on odds. I know that not ALL it is (seen a few pros read people and call against the odds...). Now I know there is more to it, and more to make oneself better - I am even more into it.

We run a 18-25 people tourney @ $20 buy-in about once every 2 weeks and I've only made the final table once (and was short stack at that). Def want to up my game.

This site is awesome...great responses - seems like you generally want to help people! Keep it up.


So 5:1 odds of hitting hand is WORSE than say 3:1 pot odds. I think I've got it now.

If it makes it easier, think of it this way: if you are drawing to a flush, you'll be getting roughly 4:1 odds of hitting it. (I know this number from drawing charts - don't worry about how to figure that out). So if you were to run that same hand 5 times, you would theoretically hit your hand once, and miss 4 times - hence 4:1 underdog.

Don't mix yourself up with 5:1 being 'worse' than 3:1.

The only thing you should remember when you get mixed up like you mentioned, is that in order for your call to be correct, your pot odds should be bigger than your drawing odds.
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
In summary, your pot odds are the ratio of [pot + any bets in front of you]:[bet to you].

So for your first example:

= [110]:[10]
= 11:1

and if the bet to you was 50 instead of 10:

= [150]:[50]
= 3:1
One minor correction...

When you calculate your immediate pot odds, you consider only the size of the pot vs what you have to call to win that amount. You don't include the money you're calling with in the calculation for your pot odds. So in the first example, the pot is 100 and you need to call 10.
= 100 to 10
= 10 to 1

And if the bet to you was 50 instead of 10:
= 100 to 50
= 2 to 1

Here is another Article link for you to check out on odds. Lays it out pretty cleanly.

Note: If you are going to convert your pot odds to a %, then you would use the formula: amt to call / (pot size + amt to call). So in the first example it is: 10 / (100+10) = 10/110 = 0.091 or 9.1%. So justify making the call, your chance of winning must exceed 9.1%.

In the second example, it is: 50 / (100+50) = 50 / 150 = .33333 = 33.3%. So you will have to win at least 33.3% of the time to justify making the call.

IMO, I prefer the first method using the odds.