Poker pot odds. What are poker odds and how to calculate them
Pot odds in poker are one the fundamental concepts you have to understand if you want become a winning poker player. In this blogpost we will explain what pot odds are, how to calculate them, give some examples and provide a pot odds chart. Furthermore we will discuss explicit and implied pot odds.
What are pot odds
Pot odds represent the ratio between the size of the pot and the size of the bet you have to call to continue the hand. This calculation allows you to assess whether calling a bet offers a favorable return, based on the odds of completing your hand and winning the pot. For instance, if the pot is $100 and you must call a $10 bet, the pot odds are 10 to 1. By comparing these odds to the likelihood of completing a winning hand (your hand odds), you can determine whether calling the bet is a profitable long-term decision. If you, in the aforementioned example, win more than 10% of the times if you call, then your call is a profitable play in the long run.
How to calculate pot odds in poker
To calculate pot odds, you divide the current size of the pot by the amount you must put in to call a bet. For example, if the pot contains $50 and the amount to call is $10, the pot odds are 5 to 1. If the odds of winning are higher than the pot odds, you make a +EV play. So if your chances of winning are higher than 5 to 1 (or 20%), you make a winning play in the long run.
We will give some examples of calculating pot odds in Texas Hold’em poker.
Pot odds flush draw example
After the flop, you are on a flush draw and you need one more heart to complete a flush. Let’s assume that you have to complete your flush in order to win.
There are 13 hearts in a deck, and you’ve seen 4, leaving 9 hearts. There are 47 unseen cards (52 in the deck minus your 2 hole cards and 3 on the flop), so the odds against hitting your flush on the turn are roughly 38 to 9, or approximately 4.2 to 1.
If the pot is $100 and your opponent bets $20 bet to see the next card, the pot odds are $120 (the $100 pot + $20 bet) to $20, or 6 to 1.
Since the pot odds (6 to 1) are greater than the odds against making your flush on the turn (4.2 to 1), calling is a +EV play.
Pot odds open-ended straight draw example
After the flop, you’re holding an open-ended straight draw, meaning any card on either end of your near straight will complete the straight. With 8 outs (4 cards of each rank that complete the straight), your odds against hitting your straight on the next card are 39 to 8, roughly 4.875 to 1.
If the pot is $90 and the bet to you is $60, the pot odds are $150 to $60, or 2.5 to 1.
The pot odds (2.5 to 1) are worse than the odds against making your straight (4.875 to 1). Hence, calling the bet is a -EV play based on pot odds.
Pot odds gutshot (inside) straight draw example
You’re chasing a gutshot straight draw after the flop, where only one specific card in the deck can complete your straight. This gives you 4 outs. The odds against hitting your gutshot on the next card are 43 to 4, or roughly 10.75 to 1.
If there’s $50 in the pot and the bet to you is $30, the pot odds are $80 to $30, or 2.667 to 1.
The pot odds (2.667to 1) are way worse than the odds of hitting your gutshot straight (10.75 to 1). So calling wouldn’t be a profitable play.
Explicit pot odds
The above examples are all instances of explicit pot odds. It is clear what’s in the pot and which amount you have to call. However, there might also be implied pot odds.
Implied pot odds
What are implied odds in poker? The difference between explicit and implied odds in poker is that with implied odds you also take into account the extra value you can win if you hit your hand.
If in the above examples you complete your hand you might not only win the money that is in the pot right now, but possibly also extra bets that your opponent(s) might pay off. Let’s assume you have a flush draw and you’re explicit pot odds are -EV for a flop call. Your flop call however might be +EV if you take implied odds into account. Implied odds are more difficult to calculate and are based on factors such as:
- Type of opponent. If your opponent is a calling station than this increases your implied odds. If your opponent is very tight this might decrease your implied odds.
- Stack depth. The deeper the stacks of your opponent(s) and yourself, the bigger the implied odds are.
- Game dynamics. Is an opponent on tilt or does he perceive you as a maniac? Then the chances are higher that he will pay you off when you hit your hand.
- Playing in position always is easier than playing out of position. It is also easier to extract value in position, because you have seen what your opponent has done.
The following poker video with Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan is a good (and fun) example of bad explicit pot odds, but good implied odds.
Negative implied odds
So implied odds can make decisions more +EV, but you have to be aware of negative implied odds. What are negative implied odds? These imply that you don’t only can lose the current bet which you have to call, but also future bets. For instance, you are on a king high flush draw. In this instance you might win the pot if you hit your flush. However, you might also lose the hand if an opponent has an ace high flush. The future bets and raises you might pay off are negative implied odds. Especially in a game as Omaha poker you have to be aware of negative implied odds.
Poker pot odds chart
If you know how many outs (cards that makes your hand a winner), you can calculate your odds. For example, if you’re on a flush draw you normally have 9 outs. If you’re on a straight draw, you normally have 8 outs. In the following poker odds chart, you can look up the percentages and odds of winning, based on your (perceived) odds.
Flop to turn | Turn to river | Turn & river | ||||
Outs | % | Odds | % | Odds | % | Odds |
20 | 42.6% | 1.35:1 | 43.5% | 1.30:1 | 67.5% | 0.48:1 |
19 | 40.4% | 1.47:1 | 41.3% | 1.42:1 | 65.0% | 0.54:1 |
18 | 38.3% | 1.61:1 | 39.1% | 1.56:1 | 62.4% | 0.60:1 |
17 | 36.2% | 1.77:1 | 37.0% | 1.71:1 | 59.8% | 0.67:1 |
16 | 34.0% | 1.94:1 | 34.8% | 1.88:1 | 57.0% | 0.75:1 |
15 | 31.9% | 2.13:1 | 32.6% | 2.07:1 | 54.1% | 0.85:1 |
14 | 29.8% | 2.36:1 | 30.4% | 2.29:1 | 51.2% | 0.95:1 |
13 | 27.7% | 2.62:1 | 28.3% | 2.54:1 | 48.1% | 1.08:1 |
12 | 25.5% | 2.92:1 | 26.1% | 2.83:1 | 45.0% | 1.22:1 |
11 | 23.4% | 3.27:1 | 24.9% | 3.18:1 | 41.7% | 1.40:1 |
10 | 21.3% | 3.70:1 | 21.7% | 3.60:1 | 38.4% | 1.60:1 |
9 | 19.1% | 4.22:1 | 19.6% | 4.11:1 | 35.0% | 1.86:1 |
8 | 17.0% | 4.88:1 | 17.4% | 4.75:1 | 31.5% | 2.17:1 |
7 | 14.9% | 5.71:1 | 15.2% | 5.57:1 | 27.8% | 2.60:1 |
6 | 12.8% | 6.83:1 | 13.0% | 6.67:1 | 24.1% | 3.15:1 |
5 | 10.6% | 8.40:1 | 10.9% | 8.20:1 | 20.3% | 3.93:1 |
4 | 8.5% | 10.75:1 | 8.7% | 10.50:1 | 16.5% | 5.06:1` |
3 | 6.4% | 14.67:1 | 6.5% | 14.33:1 | 12.5% | 7.00:1 |
2 | 4.3% | 22.50:1 | 4.3% | 22.00:1 | 8.4% | 10.9:1 |
1 | 2.1% | 46.00:1 | 2.2% | 45.00:1 | 4.3% | 22.26:1 |
Use pot odds to pressure opponents
Until now we have discussed pot odds from the perspective of a player who has to call (or not). As a better or raiser you can however use pot odds to pressure your opponents. For instance, you’re on the flop and you think your opponent is on a draw. By betting big enough, you give your opponent too bad odds to call. This forces your opponent to fold or to make an -EV play. In this way you can earn money from calling stations who chase their draws too much.
After reading this article, you can hopefully make better and more +EV decisions in poker. Good luck at the tables!
Learn more about poker
Do you want to learn more about the exciting game of poker? Read more of our intermediate poker strategy articles.