Increase Your Poker Winnings by Calculating Texas Hold’em Pot Odds

Do you understand the significance of pot odds when playing Texas Hold’em poker?

If you think pot odds are some magical formula that guarantees you’ll win your hand, you’d be wrong – very wrong. You can play your favorite casino games at Texas Hold’em pot odds are actually based on math and understanding the theory doesn’t guarantee anything. However, if you know how to calculate them, it’s a good way to help you figure out if you should call or fold.

There are two basic steps involved in calculating Texas Hold’em poker pot odds. Step one is to know how much money is in the pot already. Once you have the figure, the next step is to divide that figure by however much you are required to add to that pot.

To make these 2 steps easier to understand let’s use actual figures: Assume there is $200 in the pot and you plan to call a bet of $20. You’d divide 200 by 20 and get the answer 10. The pot odds under this scenario then are 10 to 1 or, as you are more likely to see, 10:1 meaning that – again according to this scenario – you are going to risk $20 for a chance of winning $200! Changing the figures a bit, the pot odds would be 5:1 if the pot was $100 and you planned to call a bet of $20 (100/20 = 5).

Now that you understand how to calculate Texas Hold’em pot odds, let’s add the other important aspect to consider. You now need to calculate the odds of actually getting the one card you need to win that pot.

Here’s how: Assume you have four of the cards needed for a flush and you want to determine the odds of getting the necessary fifth card. You know six of the cards already because 4 are on the board and 2 are in your hand. That leaves 46 unknown. These unknown cards are either in the deck still or are in play. But only 9 of those unknowns will do your hand any good because that’s all that’s left in the suit you need. So 37 of the unknowns are worthless.

So, divide your 9 opportunities to win by the total number of unknowns to arrive at your odds of getting that one card you need to complete your flush (37/9 = 4) which translates to 4:1 odds. Now compare the odds of getting the card you need to the Texas Hold’em pot odds you calculated earlier. If the pot odds are greater than the odds of getting the necessary card, calling is a smart move.

Here’s why: If you need to bet $1 to see the next card and the pot is $10, your Texas Hold’em pot odds are 10:1. Now using the flush example above, you have a 4:1 chance of getting the card you need. If you lose 4 times, you lose $4 but if you win just once you win $10 which will actually give you a $6 profit!

The pot odds are better than the card odds so in this case, you call. Make sure to understand the theory behind comparing the odds when playing Holdem poker and you should see your game improve.

Good Luck!

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