October 09, 2008

ABC of Poker Odds

There are 3 types of odds in poker strategy: hand odds, pot odds, and implied odds.

Hand odds
Hand odds can be defined, in the simplest poker terms, as the odds of making your hand in the remaining cards to come. A simple way to calculate it is to count the number of outs that you have to make your hand. Outs are the number of cards left in the deck that will make or improve the cards that you already have. To work out the odds just subtract the number of outs from the unseen cards to come and the answer will tell you what the odds are for that particular situation.

poker oddsFor example, in Texas Hold'em, where you hold 2 cards to a flush and the flop brings 2 more, so that you have 4 cards to the flush. There are 9 more cards that can complete your hand and there are 47 unseen cards left. If you subtract 9 from 47 this gives you 38. So your odds are 38 to nine, or roughly 4to 1, against making your hand.

You will be most concerned with the odds when you are drawing to a straight or a flush. The easiest way to remember this is that a straight is a 5 to1 underdog when only 1 card is needed to make it, if it is an open ended straight. A flush is a 4 to 1 underdog when only 1 card is needed to complete it.

Pot Odds
You must also compare the odds of making desired poker hand with the odds the pot is offering (pot odds) for the bet that has to be made. If the odds of making your hand are xx/1, is the pot offering those or better odds? If it is then this is a good bet, if not then it is a bad bet.

Another consideration to think about is the chances that you will be beaten even if you make the hand you are drawing for. If this is a possibility then the pot odds have to be greater than the odds of just making your hand to make up for those times you are beaten.

Implied Odds
An important consideration, that you need to look at, is the implied odds that the poker table is giving you. Implied odds are the additional bets that you will collect on later betting rounds if you make your hand. This is mostly a judgment call based on what you know about your competition and how they have been playing the hand so far.

With practice and experience you will be able to estimate what the odds of winning the most from each of your hands are.

Good Luck on your poker journey!

No comments: