Using Poker Odds Calculators and Moving Beyond Psychology

Understanding Pot Odds

Let’s assume the pot before the flop stood at $200, and after the three community cards had been dealt the player holding Ah Ts decided to bet $100.

At this point the total pot stands at $300 and it will cost the player holding 7d 6d $100 call. At this point we can say the pot odds are 300:100 or 3:1, however, in order to know whether this means we can make a profitable call we need to convert our chance of winning (expressed as a percentage) to a ratio.

Odds the Easy Way

To do this we need to divide 100[%] by 39[%] (rounded up for ease) which produces an answer of 2.5. This result is one ratio against 100, i.e. this means there are 2.5 39 percents in 100. Thus, in this situation the chances of hitting one of our outs are 2.5:1.

When comparing this figure of 2.5:1 to the 3:1 pot odds we’re being offered it becomes clear that it’s profitable to call the $100 bet with 7d 6d in this scenario. The reason for this is because the pot is offering greater odds than the odds of making a winning hand and, thus, can be defined as +EV (i.e. will make you money over a large number of trials).

Full House Jacks and QueensImage: Kasia (Shutterstock)


Putting this information together we can see that odds and pot odds are hugely important when determining the profitability of each move you make. Indeed, in the previous example the conclusion of our analysis was that calling a $100 bet was profitable.

However, if the villain had bet $300 into a pot of $200 then the pot odds would be significantly less but the odds of making a winning hand wouldn’t change. This would then mean a call isn’t profitable because the pot odds don’t outweigh the real odds.

Obviously doing this kind of analysis at the poker table is impossible; however, if you take some time to use a poker odds calculator away from it, you’ll build up an appreciation of various common scenarios.

By knowing that a flush draw on the flop will give you approximately 40% of winning by the river you can instantly know you need pot odds of 2.5:1 or greater to make a call.

Once you’ve gone through a number of common scenarios you’ll soon find it easy to calculate your outs and know whether calling is +EV or -EV.

Last Update: 25 September 2013


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