Tips to win at Poker: calculating pot odds

Whether you are a seasoned poker player who is finding that you are losing your way and are no longer achieving the win rate to which you were once accustomed, or if you are a relatively new player playing online from sites such as who is trying to win a few more games than you are currently winning, then here is an important tip that should help.

One of the most important concepts in the game of poker is the understanding of pot odds, and it is surprising how even experienced poker players frequently take little regard of them. Pot odds are simply the ratio the pot size to how much it could cost to make a specific bet. It is a measure of the expected value of your hand, and it should provide a guide to whether you should and how much you should bet.

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Effectively is the chance of winning the bet multiplied by the amount that you would win, less the chances of losing multiplied by the amount that you would lose.

Let’s take an example from Texas Hold’em. The turn card is the next to be dealt and you have a single opponent. Currently the pot size is £100 but you hand is training behind. You calculate that there are probably three cards remaining in the deck that will give you the winning hand. The chances of drawing one of those cards are 3/46 or 6.52%. If the bet is £10, then you must bet £10 in order to win £100, in other words the pot odds are 10/1.

You have 3 in 46 chances of winning and 43 in 46 chances of losing, so your expected value is your chances of winning £100 les your chances of losing £10.

In other words (£100 x 3/46) – (£10 x 43/46)

Which equals £6.52 – £9.34 =£ – 2.82

This is negative pot odds of £2.82 pounds so you shouldn’t bet.

If you restrict yourself to betting only when you have positive pot odds will ensure that overall you win more games, the downside is that you will gain a reputation as being a tight player and so people will run away when you do bet reducing your potential winnings. In order to overcome this it is necessary to bluff occasionally.