Poker pot odds and implied odds explained

Trying to sharpen up your poker playing strategy? One way to bolster your chances is to become familiar with pot odds, an incredibly handy set of methods to help you determine how much you might win, or simply whether you should call or fold in the first place. No matter how long you’ve been playing Texas Hold’em, understanding pot odds and the several key methods associated with it is essential.

Ratio Method

In Texas Hold’em poker, there’s two methods you can use for calculating pot odds. The most common of these is without doubt the ratio method and you’ll find that more often than not, the ratio method is the preferred language when talking about pot odds. The ratio method is a two-step technique.

Firstly, you’ll need to calculate the card odds. This is done by taking into account all of the cards available to you for reference. This includes your own two cards and the three cards on the flop. You now need to consider the ratio of cards left in the deck that you don’t want to be revealed against your ideal outcome. With 47 cards left in the deck, it’s time to make some calculations to arrive at those all-important card odds. Let’s say that out of those 47 cards remaining in the deck, there are seven cards that will land us an ideal outcome, leaving 40 cards that won’t. This breaks down to a ratio of 40:7 which can be simplified down to odds of approximately 6:1.

Now you’ve got a ballpark figure for odds of hitting a desired card on the next turn, it’s time to work out the poker pot odds. To do this, you’ll need to take into account the size of the bet itself, along with the size of the pot. If your opponent bets £30 into a pot of £70, bringing it to a total of £100, you’ll need to call £30 yourself in order to stand a shot at winning £100. This means that pot odds are £100:£30 or, when roughly rounded down, 3:1. In this instance, it would be advised against calling as the pot odds are less than the card odds. As a general rule, you should only call when odds from the pot stack up to more than the card odds.

The ratio method can be a quick and effective way of determining poker odds, but for newbies, it might take some getting used to. Unless you’ve a mind for arithmetic, it’s handy to have access to an odds conversion chart or tool when playing online poker.

Percentage Method

Some players find the percentage method approach to working out odds much easier than the ratio method. The easiest way to do this is to take the number of out cards in a hand, double them, then add one. The resulting number is then taken as a percentage and represents the card odds. Next, you need to calculate the pot odds. Do this by taking the total value of the pot (including the bets of yourself and your opponent), then work out what percentage of the total value your bet represents. With the aid of these two percentages, you can decide what to do next. If the percentage of you successfully making your hand stands as a higher percentage than the pot, you are advised to call. If not, it’s recommended you fold.

Implied Odds Poker Insights

Implied odds take things one step further than conventional pot odds and essentially exist to help you decide whether to call a drawing hand or not. Unlike conventional pot odds that require a mathematical approach to arrive at a call or fold decision, implied odds instead help you determine how much you expect to win after a draw is called and cards are on the table. Should you consider your hand a good one and think you’ll win big, you’re deemed as having healthy implied odds. Alternatively, you may feel that you’re winning streak is over and you’re unlikely to pocket more money from your opponent as the game progresses. This eventuality is deemed as having little implied odds, or no implied odds.

Calculating your implied odds poker values is incredibly easy. Simply take away the pot odd value form the odds of you making your draw successfully and you’ve got your implied odds. You then need to multiply the implied odds by the value of the bet of your opponent. The resulting value lets you know the bare minimum you need to win in order to make calling a profitable option. If you’re comfortable with working out poker pot odds, implied odds can be a great way of informing your betting behaviour further and ensuring you don’t end up out of pocket.