Texas Hold'em: Pot Odds ♠ ♣ ♦ ♥

in poker •  last year

Pot odds is a simple concept in poker used to determine if you should continue or fold facing a bet during a hand.

Learning how to calculate pot odds quickly can help you in many decisions. It's a fundamental skill that's ingrained into the minds of successful poker players.
There are 2 different ways to express pot odds. Ratio and Percentage. We will be comparing our card odds in this example to our pot odds to determine if we should call or fold. We'll go ahead and use the ratio form because it's the most commonly seen.
Example: There is you and 1 opponent left in the hand. Our starting hand is Q J. (We won't worry about the suits this time.) Flop: T 9 3. We flopped an open-ended straight draw. Which means we need a K or 8 to complete our straight. The pot is $15, and our opponent bets $5 on the flop making the pot $20 total. Our pot odds ratio is 20:5 or 4:1 Should we call this bet given our card odds?

  • There are 8 cards in the deck that will improve our hand to the winning hand. 4 kings and 4 eights.
  • There are 47 unknown cards. We know where 5 cards are (our 2 holecards, and 3 on the flop).
  • There are 8 unknown cards we want (kings and eights) to the 39 others we don't. Our card odds ratio is 39:8 or about 5:1 for simplicity.
    Pot odds: 4:1
    Card odds: 5:1
    This tells us that we should fold because our card odds > pot odds. If the opposite were true, then we would have enough equity to call. It's not always this simple to make a call. Implied odds is another subject I would love to write about. It also effects the likelihood of our profits.

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All true when you only do the math. Maybe that was your one and only intention for this article.

It depends also on whitch position you play from at the table.
Who is your oponent, how is he playing.
What are the stack sizes at that moment.
JQ acts last, that's a huge advantage.
I would put in 18 dollars more to see where I'm at and to see another card maybe.
He can have 22 to 88, or AJ, Ak, AQ and so much more that he can fold.
We can have a T or 9.
When turn is a brick we can bet again, or when we hit a K, than we can get even more money in the pot.
I hope my story makes sense.
I have even more thoughts on your example.
Thanks for the nice post!!


Well you don't put in 18 dollars more to see where you are at, you are doing it to bluff and want folds. Also you only do this action if it has the highest ev of all actions.


I play only tournaments, I mostly try to play like this.
My Pokerplay is not the best in the world. But i win tournements regularly.
Again, iff you only play mathematical poker, you are right of course.


Completely true! Many different variables have to be considered. Yeahh it all made sense, it's a good bluff to barrel with and we could have a T or 9 because of our Q/J blockers. It was intended to be a simple post. How to calculate pot odds and card odds, and how to compare them. I'd like to make one on implied odds soon.


I'd like to make one on implied odds soon.

Yeah that would be nice, I will read it :-)

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hmmm. me have much to learn. follow'd!

For those playing on PokerStars, I highly recommend using Jivaro as it displays live pot odds. Very convenient.