Poker Odds

BetOnline Poker

For many players, calculating odds in post-flop-play has become an integral part of their strategy. With the boom of online poker in the early 2000's, so came third party odds calculators allowed even the math-illiterate could use to calculate their odds of winning a hand versus pot odds on the fly. However, as long as you are capable of making basic calculations in your head, you do not need to waste your money on third party software. The good news is, being a poker player who plays the math does not mean you have to memorize boring charts. You can use basic calculations in your head to give you a close estimate of the chances of making your hand. This does not mean you will always win the pot, even if you make your hand, but it can help rationalize your decision when you are in a spot where you have to make a tough call. Say you are dealt Jh/9C with a flop of Qs/10d/2h. To calculate the odds of completing your open-ended straight, take the number of outs you have divided by the remaining cards. For these calculations, the remaining cards are 52 minus your hole cards and the cards showing in play. In this example, you have 8 possible outs, and 47 remaining cards. If you divide 8 by 47, you get .1702, roughly 17% chance of hitting your straight. Say the turn rolls off 6d, you miss your straight. Your odds are 8/46, or .1739; still roughly 17%! Not everybody can do this type of math in their head. I admit I had the help of a calculator to figure these out. And as mentioned before, not everyone can or simply will not memorize a table of odds. You can make a simpler, slightly less accurate calculation and have similar results. Multiply your number of outs by 2, in this case we will still use our example listed above, and then add 1. To have your results in decimal format, you will need to divide your answer by 100. So, when we have ((8*2)+1)/100, we have .1717%! Just to show that this equation works with other hands, take the odds of making a gut-hot straight. Since we have 4 outs in this example, when we have 4/47 we get .085, roughly 9%. With our simplified example, our equation is ((4*2)+1)/100 which equals 9/100, or 9%! In order to make a smarter poker play, we should also calculate pot odds. With the same hand, assume there is a 200 chip bet into an 800 chip pot, or 4:1. Since 17% is less than 5:1, the chips you can win is less than the odds of you making your hand, and this would not be a smart call. If the bet was more favorable, say 100 chips into a pot of 600 it might be a good call. Of course, it should not be necessary to say that there are many other factors that should determine what you do. More aggressive players may even raise in the face of a 4:1 bet, and a more conservative player may fold straight-away. If you in the middle stages of a tournament, you might be able to raise and get a tight opponent to fold and take down the pot without a showdown. The strategy, however, can give you better insight instead of relying on your gut feeling.