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Poker Odds

We have listed some of the important poker odds and terms that a good poker player should know when palying the game:

Pot Odds
Pot odds are used to calculate if a certain play has a positive expected return. It is defined as the relationship between the size of the pot and the wager. For example, if the pot is $100 and you bet $10, the pot odds are 10:1. In order to calculate pot odds, you must know how many outs your hand has available. If you flop a nut heart flush draw, you then have 9 outs to make your hand. There are 13 hearts in total. You hold 2 and the flop came with 2, leaving 9 hearts unseen.

Refer to the table below and you'll note that you have a 35% chance of hitting with 9 outs on the turn and river combined. This is a bit better than 1 in 3 times, meaning that if it costs you $10 to win $30 or more, making drawing for a flush the correct move.

Every out gives you about a 4% chance of hitting on the turn and river combined. If 5 outs gives you about a 20% chance of improving, 6 outs about 24%, and so on.

Outs for specific draws
Double wrap around straight draw 20 outs
Wrap around straight draw 17 outs
Straight flush draw 15 outs
Flush draw and overpair 11 outs
Flush draw 9 outs
Open-ended straight draw 8 outs
Three pair 6 outs
Two pair 4 outs

 

Drawing outs from a deck of 45 unseen cards


Number   % on River
of outs
4             17
5             21
6             25
7             29
8             33
9             36
10           40
11           43
12           47
13           50
14           53
15           56
16           59
17           62
18           65
19           67
20           70

Figuring odds one hand at a time
We believe one of the major reasons that players make mistake in calculating odds, is that poker odds tables universally show the odds of making a hand by the river first, then the odds of making a hand by the turn. In reality, unless you are playing in no-limit tournaments or playing in a crazy no-limit cash game, you will rarely ever have to perform a two-card calculation for your hand. The huge majority of the time, you will need to figure out your odds on your immediate hand to the next card, so it's pointless to calculate any more than that. You can do yourself a big favor by forgetting the odds of making your hand by the river and instead, memorize the odds of making hands one card at a time.

Miscounting Outs
Out counting is an important skill that is often overlooked or too easily assumed. Every time you are on a draw, you need to know exactly how many true outs you have. True outs are cards that will help your hand while not helping your opponents' hand in the process . An out that hurts you is considered a counterfeit out. Often times, your true outs may be in a gray area, because you don't for certain whether or not a certain out is counterfeit or not. Thus, your ability to read your opponents and put them on a hand is going to be very critical in figuring out what your true outs are.

The mistake of not factoring Implied Value
Not factoring in implied value is a huge error that a lot of players make, because they drop out of a draw when the are actually break-even or better on making their hand. For those who need a quick refresher on implied value - IV is considered the extra bet in the pot that occurs when your opponent calls you or bets on the river after you've made your hand. Implied value assumes that your opponent will indeed pay an extra bet on the river, which a number of old or weak-tight books have said they wouldn't. Realistically, this is mostly untrue.

Internet poker players, especially in the low limit games, will often pay you out quite handsomely at the river if they have gone that far, so it is almost an automatic assumption that you will get an extra bet on the river. What this means in application, is that all of your odds of drawing should be effectively reduced by one when calculating your odds. In fact, your flop to turn draw can also be decreased by 2 points, as the implied odds double when considering a turn bet vs a flop bet (assuming we are playing limit poker here).

Common Errors in Calculating Odds
If you're like most somewhat read poker players, you'll think that your chances of drawing to a straight or a flush is 2:1, because you've read it and seen in in poker books high and low. I want to tell you right now, that this can be a very wrong statement to apply to your game at face value. Here are a list of common errors for drawing:

• Calculating the odds for two cards at a time, instead of one card at a time

• Miscounting outs, either by not counting enough or not taking into account counterfeit outs

• Not taking into account implied value - what your opponents will put into the pot if you make your hand

Regarding the points above, I will go into more detail regarding each one and explain why they are common mistakes for many poker players and how to correct your thinking.

 

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