Working Out Pot Odds
Posted by Adam Ralph on 25 Sep 2008 at 18:09
So here we are then, week three on my quest to become a world class poker player with the poker brain of Doyle Brunson and the confidence of Phil Helmuth.
This week I took part in my first multi-table tournament. It cost me $50 to buy-in and there were unlimited re-buys up until the first break. After 45 minutes of frustrating play I started thinking I've seen better cards in the 'with sympathy section' at Clinton's and my hopes of winning were fading fast.
Finally, two re-buys later, I land AJ suited and decide it's time to make my move, only to get called by pocket kings and see a king on the flop. Ouch.
At the break I'm pretty short stacked and so buy another 1,500 chips but soon realise that my 7,000 chips isn't going to cut it with the big boys who are going all-in every other hand. I eventually make my move with J10 suited, thinking about how many outs I have, and how small my stack is, but get blasted out of the water by pocket aces. Game over. I finish 240th out of 400.
What I learnt from Waldorf1 - Pot odds - AKA 'The maths bit'
- Working out pot odds - your chance of winning the pot with the cards you hold, against how much you must bet to win it - is relatively simple.
- When drawing, the first thing you do is count your ‘outs’ - the number of cards in the deck that make your hand. An open-ended straight draw has eight outs, while a flush has nine because that is the number of cards left in the pack that can improve your hand.
- Imagine you have a flush draw after the flop. There are forty-seven cards left in the pack - fifty two minus the three on the flop and the two in your hand. This means that, on the turn, thirty eight-cards are bad and nine are good.
- Forget the fact that the dealer burnt a card, and has also dealt to however many other players are on your table because the odds of making your flop must be calculated on the unseen cards.
- So, thirty-eight cards are bad for you, nine are good. This means the odds of making a flush draw are 38 to 9. To simplify it further, think of this as approximately 4 to 1, meaning for every four times you miss your hand, you'll hit your hand once.
- Now you need to know if you should call or not. This is where you consider how much you've put into the pot already and work out if the odds of you getting a hand are better than the pot odds. Stay with me now!
- Imagine the blinds are $3-$6. Six people have taken the flop including the two blinds and there's a bet and two calls when the action gets to you.
- The pot total is $27 so if you call you are getting 9 to 1 pot odds on the small bet you invest. If there is no more betting you make $27 when you win and lose $3 when you lose, so 9 to 1 pot odds.
- The odds of you getting the flush are 4 to 1 and pot odds are 9 to 1. So if you call over the long run you miss four out of every five times. Over five hands you'll lose $3 x 4 = $12 but will win $27 when you get the flush so there is a net profit of $15!