Poker Odds for Dummies

This poker odds guide is for you if:

  • You have a basic knowledge of poker.

  • You want to improve your understanding of how Texas Hold'em poker odds work.

This short, practical guide will show you how to calculate poker odds and pot odds like the best poker players so you can gain the upper hand on both physical and online tables.

Need some quick help? Check out our handy Texas Hold’em poker cheat sheet, which simply tells you which poker hands you should play when based on poker odds.

What are pot odds and poker outs?

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Poker odds chart

Drawing to improve your hand is an essential part of poker, but the difference between winning and losing often comes down to knowing when you're getting the right price to call to try and hit your card. This chart shows the most common drawing situations you'll find yourself in, as well as how much needs to be in the pot already to make it worth calling.

We'd recommend bookmarking this page so you can refer to these poker cheat sheets next time you face a tricky call online.

On the flop

Drawing Hand

# of Outs

Odds of Hitting by the River

$ in Pot Needed per $1 to Call

Open-ended Straight and Flush Draw

15

54%

$0.85

Inside Straight and Flush Draw

12

45%

$1.25

Flush Draw

9

35%

$1.85

Open-ended Straight Draw

8

32%

$2.10

2x Overcards vs Top Pair

6

24%

$3.15

Two pair to Full House

4

16%

$5.25

Inside Straight Draw

4

16%

$5.25

1x Overcard vs Top Pair

3

12%

$7.35

Pocket Pair to Set

2

8%

$11.50

On the turn

Drawing Hand

# of Outs

Odds of Hitting by the River

$ in Pot Needed per $1 to Call

Open-ended Straight and Flush Draw

15

33%

$2.00

Inside Straight and Flush Draw

12

26%

$2.85

Flush Draw

9

20%

$4.00

Open-ended Straight Draw

8

17%

$4.90

2x Overcards vs Top Pair

6

13%

$6.70

Two pair to Full House

4

9%

$10.10

Inside Straight Draw

4

9%

$10.10

1x Overcard vs Top Pair

3

6%

$15.65

Pocket Pair to Set

2

4%

$24.00

Pot odds table

And here's our at-a-glance guide to poker pot odds, using some of the more common bet sizes you're likely to face at the table. Want some guidance on what you should be playing in the first place? We recommend checking our starting hands page for more information.

Size of bet

Example

Pot odds

Equity needed

1/2 pot bet

$1 into $2 pot

3:1

1/4 or 25%

2/3 pot bet

$2 into $3 pot

5:2

2/7 or 29%

3/4 pot bet

$3 into $4 pot

7:3

3/10 or 30%

pot sized bet

$4 into $4 pot

8:4 or 2:1

4/12 or 1/3 33%

2x pot bet

$8 into $4 pot

12:8 or 3:2

8/20 or 2/5 40%


PART 1

How odds work

Let's say you're betting on a horse race and are given odds of 'seven to one', it will be written '7:1'. This means that for every $1 you bet you'll get paid $7 if you win. So if you bet $10 at 7:1 you'll win $70 (plus your stake).

7:1

Odds

=

$70

Winnings from a $10 bet

When the odds are particularly high against you winning, it'll often be referred to as the 'long shot', which generally means it has only the slightest chance of succeeding.

Higher odds generally mean you have less chance of winning. If someone offers you odds of 100:1 it means they're convinced you're not going to win.


PART 2

Poker odds tell you the probability of hitting any given card

Before we can get into a discussion of poker odds while playing poker online, you need to know how to calculate your 'outs'. Outs are simply the cards that will help you improve your hand and make it better than what you think your opponent is holding.

To calculate odds you first need the number of winning cards, or 'outs'

  1. Your hand is dealt:

    Image for item

    To make a flush

    You will need 3 more hearts

  2. Opponent's hand is unknown:

    Image for item

    Ignore your opponent's hand

  3. The dealer lays out:

    Image for item

    4

    Hearts now visible

  4. To win you'll need any heart:

    Image for item

    9

    Out of 13 hearts still available. You have 9 'outs'


PART 3

Using the ‘outs’ to calculate Texas Hold’em poker odds

Let's break this down:

  • We have already determined that you have nine 'outs'.

  • There are 52 cards in a deck and two of those are in your hand, leaving 50.

  • There are four cards exposed from the flop and turn, leaving 46 cards.

  • Your opponent is holding two cards, but we ignore those as our calculations in online Texas Hold'em poker are only based on the cards you can see and what could be left in the deck.

First calculate how many cards from the deck you can't see:

52

Cards in a deck

-

2

Cards in your hand

-

4

Cards dealt in the flop and turn

=

46

Unseen cards (Still ignoring what your opponent may be holding)

The unseen cards are then split into winners and losers:

LOSERS

37 cards in the deck that will cause you to lose

Clubs

Image for item

Diamonds

Image for item

Spades

Image for item

WINNERS

9 cards in the deck that will give you a win

Hearts

Image for item

YOUR ODDS

37 to 9

Your odds of getting the winning flush

This simplifies down to

4:1

(or 20% for those that like to use percentages)

In other words, you are 4 times more likely to lose this pot than you are to win it.

Common poker outs scenarios

To help you get to grips with the idea of poker outs, we've provided the outs and odds on some common scenarios you're likely to see at the table. You’ll notice there’s a big difference between having just one card to come, and two. For the example above – the flush draw – your chances go up to 35% from 20% if you have both turn and river to come.

Poker outs chart

Poker Outs Chart Download PDF


PART 4

The BIG question - should you call the bet?

So, on the turn you have odds of around 4:1 to win this hand. As to whether you should call your opponent's bet, that depends on how much money is in the pot. No, that doesn't mean if there's a big pot of money you should just go for it. What you should be looking for is the ratio of money you could win compared to the size of your opponent's bet.

Let's continue with our example:

  • Let's say there was $90 in the pot and your opponent bets $10.

  • That makes a total of $100 in the middle of the table waiting to be won.

  • You need to match your opponent's bet of $10 to see the river card, so it's going to cost you $10 to see if that last card is going to be one of the nine you need to win.

  1. Step 1: Work out how much you'd normally win from your actual poker odds:

    4:1

    Odds you actually have of winning the hand

    $10

    Your bet

    =

    $40

    Money you'd normally win

  2. Step 2: Calculate how much money you could win and the odds you're getting:

    $90

    Money in the pot

    +

    $10

    Your rival’s new bet (you must match this bet to continue the game)

    =

    $100

    Money you could win

    10:1

    If you match your opponent’s bet and win, you'll make $10 for every $1 bet. That's pot odds of 10 to 1.

  3. Step 3: Decide whether to call the bet:

    In this example by betting $10 your opponent has effectively given you odds of 10:1, when your actual chance of winning is 4:1. This is like a bookmaker giving you 10:1 odds on a horse that has a 4:1 chance of winning.

    Should you call that bet? Yes!

    Why? Because the odds are offering you the chance to enjoy a great pay day.


PART 5

But what if I lose?

Even if you make that call, you might still lose. It happens. Remember, your calculated odds were 4:1, meaning you will lose four times for every time you win. That's why it’s important you are being offered at least the chance to win four times as much as your bet, because statistically in the long run you'll break even. More importantly, if you are being offered the chance to win more than four times your bet for a 4:1 risk, you'll eventually make money.

To summarize everything we have calculated so far:

IN SUMMARY

4:1 are the odds you actually have of winning the hand

This means you can expect to lose 4 hands for every hand you win

10:1 are the odds you're being offered to call your opponent’s bet

This means you'll win $100 from a $10 bet

If this situation came up 5 times during the game, and went exactly as the probabilities suggest, it would look like this:

$100

Won from the 1 flush

-

$40

Losses from 4 losing hands

=

$60

Profit from 5 hands


PART 6

A lot to remember? Here's a handy shortcut: The Rule of 4 and 2

Now that you have worked through the math and seen the theory, it's time to introduce a handy shortcut. This will help you calculate your chances of winning a hand within the short period of time that online poker allows you to make a decision.

Let's use our example from step 1:

  1. After the flop (first three cards the dealer puts on the table), calculate the number of outs left in the deck:

    Using our example from step 1 we had: 9 outs

  2. Then simply multiply the number of outs by 4 to get the approximate chance of being dealt a winning card on the turn or river:

    9 x 4 = 36%

  3. After the turn (fourth card dealt on the table), multiply the number of outs by 2 to give the chance of winning on the river:

    9 x 2 = 18%

While this method is not super precise, it provides a clear enough guide when calculating odds in online poker. Once you've got the hang of playing poker you may want to start calculating the exact percentage, but for now the rule of 4 and 2 is more than enough to get you started.

You can always use our poker cheat sheet and poker odds calculator when you’re reviewing your poker hands and brushing up on your skills.


Poker odds don't require a super computer like this to be useful.

You don't need a super computer to figure out useful poker odds at the table. (Creative Commons)


Cheat sheets

Our poker odds cheat sheets can give you the edge at the tables and help you make better decisions – especially when you have a drawing hand. Click to download and print them out (or simply bookmark this page) so you always have them handy.


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Poker Odds FAQ