The ability to calculate poker odds is what separates the amateur poker fan from the advanced or professional player. It is almost impossible to achieve any level of success at a poker casino and win consistently without understanding how to calculate the poker pot odds. Therefore the following information should prove invaluable to you when you're looking to boost your knowledge of poker strategy.
Pot odds help a player base the decisions he makes in a game on the law of averages as opposed to blind luck. A player calculates pot odds simply by comparing the total number of unknown cards remaining in a deck to the specific cards he holds. These are referred to in poker as "outs." The following example will teach you how to calculate the number of outs.
Remember that an out is a card that will help you make your hand. If you have an Ace and a King of Spades and two community cards on the table are also Spades, you know that there are nine Spades left in the deck. This is because each suit consists of 13 cards. If there are 46 unknown cards, 37 of them will not help you make a flush. Divide this number by the number of outs - 37/9. In this way, you can calculate that you have 4:1 odds of making the draw.
Of course you can only calculate these poker game odds based on the number of cards in a deck. If one of your opponents is in possession of a Spade, the odds of making the hand will increase against you.
When calculating outs, it is important to count them accurately. Sometimes this is more difficult if you have a choice of which hand to aim for. In your hand are the Jack and the Ten of Diamonds. On the board is the eight, King and Queen of diamonds. If you can obtain a nine or an Ace of the same suit, you will have a flush, while a nine or Ace of any suit will give you a straight. A flush means you have nine outs whereas a straight gives you eight outs. As the Ace and nine of Diamonds can be counted twice toward each hand, the total number of outs is 15 rather than 17.
Once you know how to correctly count the number of outs you have for a hand, you can use this knowledge to influence your betting decisions. As a general rule, the amount of the pot should be four times the minimum amount of your bet to make it worth your while to remain in a game. If you want to work out your odds quickly and easily, simply multiply the number of outs you have by four. This will give you a close estimate to the percentage you need. If this figure is in your favor, you should continue betting.
Another simple way of establishing whether the pot odds are in your favor is to calculate the following ratio. Remember that pot odds are simply found by working out the difference between the money in the pot and how much it will cost you to call the bet. For example, if the pot contains $100 and you need $10 to call, the odds are 10:1. If there is $50 in the pot and you need to spend $10 to call, the pot odds are 5:1. Your odds improve as the ratio gets larger.
Knowing how to calculate poker odds is fundamental to becoming a skilled and worthy poker adversary. Players new to this aspect of the game are advised to study up on pot odds and familiarize themselves thoroughly with the way in which calculations are made.