Odds in poker are related to the more purely mathematical aspects of the game. They are used to calculate the unfavorable probabilities of completing a hand and are decisive for the development of the game.
The outs and odds are closely related concepts in poker. They are used to calculate the favorable and unfavorable probabilities to which we are exposed during the game, and to know what is the real probability that the project we have in hand will succeed or not.
If you aspire to become an advanced player, you need to know what types of odds exist and how they are calculated.
What are poker odds
As we said, the odds in poker are the odds against a project coming to fruition. Knowing the probability of not getting the hand we need is crucial in determining our next moves.
Although odds and outs are closely related, we often simply refer to “odds” as the general probability that our project will or will not come to fruition during the game. In order to know the unfavorable odds, it is necessary to calculate the favorable odds. In other words, odds and outs are calculated simultaneously, so knowing some odds will inevitably lead us to know the others.
Types of poker odds
There are several types of odds that can be calculated in poker. One of the best-known types of odds is Implied Odds, which are used to calculate the amount of money expected to be won on the last few streets if the outs are correct.
They can be used in combination with the concept of pot odds, as they can help determine whether it is worthwhile to call a bet on a draw.
Pot odds are another type of odds. They are calculated based on the size relationship between the bet and the pot. For example, if there is €10 in the pot and one of the players bets 50% of its value (€5), the total size of the pot is €15 and the player is faced with a bet of €5. The odds of the pot are 15:5, and ideally the right-hand side of the ratio should be reduced to one.
How to calculate poker odds
If we continue with the example we have taken, we will learn how to calculate pot odds in a poker game. Pot odds relate the cards that are worth winning a hand (i.e., the outs) to the amount of chips you would have to pay to see the next card.
To calculate pot odds, you need to know how to deal with ratios, fractions and percentages. Let’s look at an example. If you have a 33% chance of improving your hand, it means that for every three times you pay to expect to improve your hand, you will get it once.
To relate this data to pot odds, we need to convert the fraction into a ratio. For example, if we express the number of times, we will fail to improve by the number of times we will improve, we would express it as “2:1”, which is read as “two to one”. The figure is the same as before, 33% of the time, but fractions and ratios are used to express it in a simpler way.
To calculate pot odds, a very simple formula is used: add the chips in the pot plus the chips placed in the pot in the current betting round and divide by the chips to be paid out.
With €50 in the pot and a bet of another €50 from another player, we would have a pot of €100. A bet of €50 would have to be paid out. The pot odds here is a ratio of 100 to 50, i.e., the pot odds are 2:1.
Pot odds in poker can also be calculated using shortcuts to help speed up calculations during the game. The two and four rule is used to quickly calculate what chances there are of improving the hand in a draft, and relate this information to the pot odds to see if paying the bet actually pays off.
The two and four rule states that if you multiply the number of outs you have by four when there are only two cards left to go, you will get the approximate percentage of times you complete your hand on the river.
Also, if you multiply the number of outs by two when there is only one card left to go, you can find out the percentage of times you complete a hand. These are quick ways of obtaining data that can help you calculate pot odds much more quickly.
Then there are other mechanisms to convert pot odds to percentages and vice versa, which is also a way to have important data to calculate odds and to know when it is better to pay the bet and when it is better to walk away.