Determining pot odds is a crucial part of any poker player’s game. Many players find it difficult to calculate the odds during the intense moments of battle, but calculating your odds comes down to once simple question; How much money will it cost to keep playing this hand and how much money am I likely to make if I catch the cards I need? Knowing the answers to these questions will save you from just giving away your chips at the poker table. A bit of basic math is required here, but if it’s your first time, I promise to be gentle.
Okay, to properly explain this we will need a set up hand. You (let’s call you Johnny) have just been dealt 10 J and the flop is 2 8 9. The pot is currently 1000 (dollars or chips) and your opponent has just bet 300. With this basic information we must first figure out how many outs you have left. Outs are cards that can help you make a winning hand between what’s already in your hand and the flop. You have 2 over cards (10 J), or cards higher than the flop, in your hand, and the deck has three more 10s and three more Jacks, beginning your total outs at 6.
With the flop you now have an open-ended straight (8 9 10 J), meaning that you need either a 7 or a Queen to make your straight. Since we know that there are four 7’s and 4 Q’s in the deck. That gives us an additional 8 outs for a total of 14 outs.
With a total of 14 outs, we can now calculate your odds by dividing them by the number of cards in the deck, 52. 52/14=3.3, giving you 3-to-1 odds on your hand. This is far less confusing than it sounds. All these numbers mean is that for every 3 times these five cards (10 J 2 8 9) are dealt, you should get one of your outs one time, but whether or not you win the hand depends on how you bet.
Now, let’s discuss the bet. Your opponent bet 300 chips so you know have the second part of this equation in order to make a winning bet. You have to call your opponent because he only bet 30% of the pot which means that as long as you have at least 30% of the pot available to call, pot odds are in your favor. But, if your stack is less than 30% of the pot, you should fold and you live to die in another hand. So, to answer the above question; in this example it would cost you 300 chips to call and you could win a 1300 pot. In this instance pot odds are definitely in your favor.