Pot Odds - 20 Basic Texas Hold’em Odds (Every Poker Player Should Know)
You know it, your mom knows it, and the cashier at your nearby gas station knows it: To win at poker, you’ve got to do some math. The world’s top-notch poker champs might not have fancy MIT degrees, but they know a thing or two about odds. Sure, there are other aspects to the game, like reading your opponents and proper bankroll management, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to knowing your poker odds. That’s how winner takes all.
Know Your Poker Odds
We’ll get you started by showing you 20 examples of the basic Texas Hold’em odds you need to know. To really make a mark on the felt, we’re also going to show you a nifty little trick for calculating poker odds right at the table.
But first, a little Poker 101 for all you noobs out there – we’re talking about pot odds and pot equity.
Most people have at least some understanding of odds in general. If you pick a number at random between 1 and 10, your odds of picking any specific number (say, 3 or 7) are exactly 1 in 10. This can also be expressed using a ratio; in this case, your odds are 9:1, or 9-to-1, meaning nine incorrect picks to one correct pick. Or you can express these odds using a percentage; in this case, your odds are 10%. In poker, your pot odds are the ratio or percentage that you get during a hand in progress when you compare the size of the pot to the size of a possible call.
How do you calculate pot odds?
This is one of the very first skills you should develop when you’re learning to play poker. Let’s say you’re on the river and your opponent bets $10, making the pot $90 in total. Your pot odds for calling that bet would be 9:1 ($90-to-$10), just like they were in the above example. To convert this into a percentage, take the size of your call ($10), and divide it by the sum of the call and the pot ($10+$90, or $100). That’s $10/$100, or 10%. You can make this conversion easier by telling yourself that you’d be calling $10 to win $100 – that’s the $90 already in the pot, and the extra $10 you’d be putting in. Most of the time when you play Texas Holdem online, you’ll be dealing with numbers that don’t divide quite so easily. Maybe you’ll be facing a $58 call into a pot of $237. Don’t worry being exact; just round off the numbers, so it’s a $60 call into a pot of $240. Your pot odds are roughly 4:1, or 20%. That’ll be close enough to help you make the right decisions at the table.
What Is Pot Equity?
This concept is slightly more advanced than pot odds, but only because equity isn’t something we talk about much in everyday conversation…unless, you know, you’re THAT person. Pot equity in poker is the amount of money that’s in the pot, divided by your chances of winning the pot. If there’s $200 in the pot, and you’ve got a 50/50 chance of winning the hand, your pot equity is 50%, or $100. Alright, now listen up: This is a very important concept to get right. Anytime you’re in a hand with one other opponent, and you’ve got more than 50% pot equity, you want to make the pot bigger. Less than 50%, and you want to keep that pot as small as possible. Comparing your pot odds to your pot equity will go a long way towards telling you what plays you should make at the poker table. If you’ve got 50% pot equity in a hand on the river, and your pot odds are 10%, that’s an easy call to make; even if you only have 11% equity, it’s worth making the call here. Less than 10% pot equity, and you should fold (or bluff-raise, if you think that’s the right play). Got exactly 10% equity with 10% pot odds? Then it doesn’t matter much whether you call or fold, since you’ll wind up with the same amount of money either way.
Common Poker Hand Odds
Heads up, the easiest decisions you’ll make in poker will be on the river, since your call will close the action and take you to showdown – no more cards to be dealt, no other decisions to make. But there’s more to Texas Hold’em poker hands than just the river. You should also think about poker in terms of odds during every other stage of the hand, including pre-flop, the flop, and the turn. The clearer picture you have of what your odds are, the better your decisions. Here’s three questions every Hold’em players needs to know by heart. Read ‘em good:
1. What are the odds of being dealt pocket aces?
There are 52 cards in the standard French deck, and 1,326 different ways of dealing out two cards. There are six different combinations of pocket Aces: AsAc, AsAh, AsAd, AcAh, AcAd, and AhAd. The answer is 1,320:6, which simplifies to 220:1, or 0.452%.
2. What are the odds of flopping a set?
If you’ve already been dealt a pocket pair, the odds of seeing at least one more of those cards dealt on the flop are roughly 15:2, or 11.8%. That’s 1 – [(48 C 3) / (50 C 3)] if you want to do the math, where “C” means “choose” in combinatorics (yeah we know, it’s kind of a mouthful).
3. What are the odds of flopping a flush?
If you’ve been dealt two suited cards, your odds of flopping three more cards of the same suit are (11 C 3) / (50 C 3). That works out to 117.78:1, or 0.842%. Again, you don’t have to do all these combinatorics equations yourself – just remember the odds, so you can manage your expectations at the table and act accordingly. Here are the odds for some other Texas Hold’em poker hands to keep in mind:
Odds of Being Dealt a Hand Preflop
4. Any pocket pair: 15.1%, 5.63:1
5. Any two suited cards: 23.5%, 3.25:1
6. Any Ace-King: 1.21%, 82.6:1
7. Ace-King suited: 0.30%, 330:1
8. Any offsuit Ace: 15.1%, 5.63:1
9. JJ+, AKs: 2.11%, 46.4:1
Odds of Improving on the Flop
10. From pocket pair to full house: 0.73%, 136:1
11. From pocket pair to quads: 0.25%, 407:1
12. From suited cards to flush draw: 11.0%, 8.1:1
13. From suited cards to backdoor flush draw: 41.7%, 1.4:1
14. From no pair to pair (using a hole card): 28.6%, 2.5:1
15. From no pair to two pair (using both hole cards): 2.00%, 49:1
Odds of Improving on the Turn
16. From open-ended (or double inside) straight draw to straight: 20.8%, 4.8:1
17. From inside straight draw to straight: 9.52%, 10.5:1
18. From flush draw to flush: 24.4%, 4.1:1
19. From pocket pair to set: 4.55%, 22:1
20. From pair to two pair/trips: 12.2%, 8.2:1
Best Way to Calculate Odds
Good news! Even if you don’t memorize these post-flop numbers, you don’t need a poker odds calculator when you’re playing in real time. You can make a quick approximation instead by using the Rule of Four and Two. To do this, you need to know how many outs you have; that is, how many cards are left in the deck that will complete your hand. If you’re on the flop, multiply your number of outs by four, and you’ll have something close to the percentage for your odds of completing a hand by the river. If you’re on the turn, multiply by your outs by two. This will give you a rough idea of what your pot equity looks like. Here’s how to use the Rule of Four and Two for three poker hands, ranking from lowest to highest odds:
When you’ve been dealt a pocket pair and you hope to make a set, you have two outs, since there are four cards of every rank in the deck. If you’re on the flop, two outs times four is eight, so you’ve got about an 8% chance of making your set by the river. If you’re on the turn, it’s two times two, or 4%.
Inside Straight Draw
An inside straight draw only has four outs, so you’ve got a roughly 16% chance to complete your straight when you’re on the flop, and 8% on the turn.
Open-Ended Straight Draw
An open-ended straight draw (or a double inside draw) has eight outs, so you’ve got about a 32% chance of making your straight by the river. That goes down to 16% on the turn.
So, go ahead and use these odds to approximate your pot equity the next time you’re on the felt, and you can compare them to your pot odds and decide if it’s worth making a call or not. Try it out the next time you’re playing poker at Ignition, but make sure you’re playing at low stakes until you get the hang of it. Once you master this, you’ll be free to enjoy all the action the tables have in store without any stress or confusion.