Texas Hold’em is an odds game. Everything you do or don’t do in the game has odds. Every action you make, bet you face or hand you play comes with its own set of odds, probability and statistics. If you’re not that good at math don’t be afraid, nobody needs to be a math expert in order to become a strong poker player. You’d be surprised to know the fact that some of the greatest poker players in the world don’t even know what a common denominator is. Texas Hold’em may have very complex strategy but at its core is still simple and with this simplicity makes for some very simple math.
Finding out your Pot Odds
In essence, pot odds are the amount of money that is in the pot compared to how much money you are willing to pay to stay in the game. These are the odds you’re “being offered by the pot”.
Here’s a Hypothetical Situation
Let’s say we go to the flop and there are a total of $20 dollars in the pot. One of your opponents makes a bet of $10 and now the bet is part of the pot. The total amount in the pot is now $30, so you’re being offered $30 for the cost of $10. In ratio form that’s 30:10.
Here’s how to simplify things, you’ll always want to make the right side of your ratio equal to 1. So, to make it equal to 1 divide 10 by itself, 10/10=1
Now we’re going to use some basic math that states that whatever you do to your right side of the ratio you have to do to the left side too. Now all we need to do is divide 30 by 10, 30/10=3.
Now the ratio is 3-1. To skip a step you can always divide the left side by the right side and instantly get your pot odds, which in this case are 3-1.
To find out your equity means to find out your chances of winning the pot compared to your opponent’s. To calculate your equity you need to take the total number of outs (an out is any card that can come which will give you the best hand), multiply that number by 4 on the flop or 2 if it’s the turn.
Here’s an example. You have a flush draw and 9 outs on the flop. 9×4=36% chance of making the best hand.
Since the pot odds are a ratio we need to make your equity a ratio as well. The total number of percentage points is 100, the chances of you making the best hand is 36 and the chances of you not making the best hand is 64. 64-36 is your ratio.
Now, let’s use the same shortcut we did in order to calculate our pot odds. Our ratio is 64-36, divide the left part by the right part and you get a new ratio of 1.7-1. This means that for every time you make a hand there will be 1.7 times you don’t.
You don’t necessarily have to be that precise, nobody is. Just make a rough estimation of your odds. 36 goes into 64 a little less than twice, just round your ratio and it will give you your new one of 2-1.
Comparing your pot odds to your equity
It’s simple, compare the two numbers on the left side of both the ratios. If your pot odds number is higher than your equity number, you’re making the right decision, if not you’re making a bad call.
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