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Poker School - Poker Odds

So you want to learn how to play Poker? If you're a beginner looking for lessons on how to play, you've come to the right place. This Section will give you the basics of poker to help get you started in this exciting and rapidly growing game.

Remember, you won't become a Pro overnight as a major part of the game comes down to experience but A World of Poker will try and help you in the right direction.


When playing Texas Hold'em there will be plenty of times when you need a certain card to show itself on the flop, or turn, or the river. It is therefore of great benefit to know what the odds are of making your flush or straight on the river. Maths is very important in poker and you need to be able to know your approximate odds at any given time in a hand to maximise your chances of winning.

Working out the chances of finding the card you need on the board is not as complicated as it might at first seem. You will need to know just two things; how many 'outs' you have, and the number of unseen cards.

Outs

'Outs' are simply the number of cards that can make your hand. If you are looking for that flush on the river, there are 9 cards that can help you. Since there are 13 hearts in the deck and 4 of them are in your hand or on the board, there must be 9 hearts remaining.

Unseen Cards

The second thing to know in order to calculate the odds is the number of unseen cards. Since two cards are in your hand, and just prior to the river there are four cards on the board, that leaves 46 cards remaining out of a deck of 52.

Calculating the Odds

Calculating the odds becomes simple arithmetic. 9 is the number of cards that can help you, and 46 is the total number out there. Divide 9 by 45 and you have your odds. (9/46=19.56%)

Ok, if you're not too hot with the maths, commit a few to memory.

Flush: When holding a four flush, the odds of catching it on the turn are roughly 19%. Catching it on the river, the odds are roughly 19%. Catching it on either the turn or the river is 35%

Open-Ended Straight: The odds of catching your card on the turn are 17%. On the river it's 17%. On either the turn or the river it's 31%

Gutshot Straight: Catching your card on the turn is 8%. Catching your card on the river is 8%. Catching it on the turn or the river, 16%

Trips: To turn a pair into Three-of-a-Kind on the turn, odds are 4%. Catch at the river, 4%. Catch at the turn or the river, 8%. With pocket pairs it is more likely you'll want to catch on the flop. Odds of that are 12%

Pot Odds

At the poker table, there'll be plenty of occasions when you'll be asking yourself what is perhaps the most important question of all: "Is it worth me staying in this hand?" Using 'Pot Odds' will help you give the right answer more often.

What are Pot Odds?

Pot Odds is simply the ratio between how much is already in the pot and the amount you'd have to bet to stay in the hand. For example: if there's $30 in the pot, and you'd have to bet $6 to stay in the hand, the pot odds are 30 to 6, or 5:1.

Why do I need to know the Pot Odds?

Let's say your hand is not yet the best hand at the table, but it could be if the right card came up next. There might be four cards on the board and you hold four diamonds. The odds of completing the flush on the river are approximately 5:1 against you. That means: for you to bet with the pot odds, there should be at least five times the bet amount already in the pot. So, if the bet to you is $3, there should be at least $13 in the pot to make it worth calling.

Suppose there's $27 in the pot and you are trying to decide if it is worth going on. The odds of landing the diamond and getting the best hand at the table are, as stated, 5:1. The pot would pay you 12:1 on your bet. According to the Pot Odds, that makes calling the bet the right decision to make. Of course, you may not land your diamond and win the hand, but in the long run, playing this way will be to your advantage.

Another situation when knowing the Pot Odds is helpful is using them after the river, when the final bet has come to you. If the pot holds $40, and the bet in front of you is $4, you can use Pot Odds to help you decide what to do. The pot is laying you odds of 10:1. ($40 against your $4 bet). Even though you may feel that your opponent has the better hand, ask yourself if you think he is ten times more likely to have a better hand? If you do, fold. If not, call the bet and see his cards.

We also have a poker calculator on aworldofpoker to assist you when you get home or have finished your internet session and want to rerun situations you have been involved in.