»»Pot odds in poker explained. How to calculate them? How do they work?

# Pot odds in poker explained. How to calculate them? How do they work?

Poker
2023 May 17 5 min read

Poker players who frequent poker forums will inevitably hear about poker odds at some point. In fact, it is said that every poker player should learn about poker odds if they are serious about upping their game.

## What are pot odds in poker?

Pot odds in poker are the ratio of the amount of money in the pot compared to the amount of money it will cost you to call a bet. It is a mathematical concept that is used to identify a profitable call from a losing one.

That is only one side of the coin, since pot odds are also important when placing a bet against your opponent’s hand. In this case, pot odds are useful to identify whether your opponent’s odds to call your bet will work in your favour.

## How pot odds work in poker

Let’s recap. Pot odds are simply the ratio between the size of the pot and the size of the bet. For instance, if the pot size is €50 and a player bets €10, that makes the total pot size €60 (50+10). The next player is therefore facing a €10 bet, placing the pot odds at 60:10.

The ratio 60:10 can be further simplified by dividing each number (60 and 10) by 10, making the ratio 6:1. If you prefer the percentage form, you can add both sides of the ratio (6+1=7) and divide 100 by that number, equalling roughly 14.3%. The last step is to simply multiply each side of the original ratio (6:1) by 14.3%. The result would be 85.8% : 14.3%.

The question is: what does this information mean, and what can we do with it? Using pot odds is done this way: we now know that if your opponent makes a half-pot bet, you must have a better hand at least 14.3% of the time to call the bet profitably.

## What’s the use of pot odds poker?

Pot odds in poker are used to determine whether or not it is mathematically profitable to call a bet or raise based on the size of the pot and the amount of money it will cost you to call. By understanding pot odds, you can make more informed decisions when deciding whether to call or fold, which can ultimately lead to more profitable outcomes over the long run.

In practical terms, if a player has a strong hand and the pot odds indicate that it is profitable to call a bet or raise, they can feel more confident in their decision to put more money into the pot. On the other hand, if the pot odds suggest that it is not profitable to call, a player may decide to fold, avoiding the risk of losing money to what ultimately was always going to be a winning hand.

Understanding pot odds can also help you size your bets more effectively. For example, a player with a strong hand may choose to make a larger bet if the pot odds suggest that opponents are likely to call, whereas a smaller bet may be more appropriate if the pot odds are less favourable.

Overall, pot odds are an important tool in the arsenal of any serious player, especially those wanting to develop their poker career. Pot odds allow you to make more informed decisions and improve your overall profitability at the poker table. After all, your chance of winning is much greater when you find the most opportune moments to place money on the table.

## How to calculate poker pot odds in poker

As we’ve seen above, one can calculate poker pot odds without years of mathematical experience. In this section, we’ll knuckle down on the specifics to help you calculate pot odds more accurately.

### Calculate the pot size

All you have to do to calculate the pot size is to add all the money placed on the table (all the bets) as well as the bets and raises from previous streets.

### Determine the bet sizes

This is pretty straightforward. This amount would be the money you’d have to pay to remain active in the round.

### Obtain a decimal value

All you have to do to obtain a decimal value is divide the size of the bet by the size of the pot.

### Obtain a percentage value

In order to obtain a percentage value, simply multiply the decimal value by 100. Congratulations! You have managed to calculate pot odds for the first time.

To put your result in more context, let’s explain how you can use pot odds. For example, let’s say that your odds are 30%. This means that you would have to win the hand at least 30% of the time to break even on your call.

If you think your chances of winning the hand are better than 30%, it may be a good idea to call the bet. If your chances are worse than 30%, it may be better to fold and wait until you get better odds in future rounds.

Pot valueBet sizePot odds
€50€105:1
€100€1010:1
€200€504:1
€120€403:1

To calculate pot odds using the poker odds chart above, you’ll need to know the pot size and the amount you can call with.

## Poker pot odds example

Enough theory! Let’s see how you can calculate poker odds with a concrete example.

Let’s say that you’re playing poker online at a Texas hold’em table. The pot size is currently €100 and your opponent’s bet is €10 (making the total pot €110). The question is: should you call their bet with a flush draw, knowing that you have nine outs out of 47 unknown cards? The number of outs refers to the number of cards that will make your hand.

Now comes the part where we identify the right move by calculating odds. To find the ratio we need, we should compare the pot size (€110) to the bet size (€10), putting the ratio at 110:10.

Next up, we must calculate your chances of turning that flush draw into a flush. With 13 cards in each suit and four of them in hand, you have nine cards in the deck that will make your flush. With 47 unknown cards remaining, your odds of hitting one of these cards is roughly 9/47 or 19%—a nut flush has a considerably lower chance of occurring, of course.

Our final step is comparing pot odds with with your odds of making a flush. If your odds of hitting are better than your pot odds (11:1/9.1%), a call would be the best decision.

## When don’t pot odds work?

Pot odds are a great tool to help you make correct decisions in poker games, but there are some limitations and drawbacks that you should consider.

1. Reverse implied odds: Pot odds do not take into account the possibility of future opponent bets, which may reduce the value of your hand. For example, if you have a flush draw, but the board also has a potential straight flush, your opponents’ hand may have cards that make a straight flush, rendering your hand weak.
2. Multi-way pot: In a pot with multiple players, it can be more difficult to calculate the actual pot odds accurately, as there are more variables to consider. In this situation, you may need to make some assumptions about your opponent’s range and adjust your poker odds accordingly.
3. Bluffing: Pot odds assume that your opponents are playing honestly and are not trying to deceive you. However, if you suspect that your opponents are trying to pull off a bluff or semi-bluff, you may need to adjust your decision-making accordingly.
4. Mental game: Avoid letting your emotions dictate your decisions. For example, if you are frustrated or adamant about winning the existing pot, you may make a decision that is not based on the current pot odds.

## What are good pot odds in poker?

A good pot odds situation is one where the pot odds are favourable for you to make the call, meaning that the size of the pot is large enough relative to the size of the wager you need to make.

Generally, a pot odds ratio of 2:1 or better is considered to be a good odds situation, meaning that the size of the pot is at least twice the size of the bet you need to call.

## Poker pot odds percentage

If you’ve calculated the correct odds and want a quick way of knowing the percentage form, here’s a chart to make things easy for you.

Pot oddsPercentage value
1:150%
2:133.33%
3:125%
4:120%
5:116.67%
6:114.29%
7:112.50%
8:111.11%
9:110%

## Pot odds ratio for poker hands

Understanding pot odds and the likelihood of making different hands is important in making the best decisions possible in poker. In fact, a good poker strategy is paying attention to the likelihood of having the best hand at the table.

Forget about going all-in for a big pot all the time! Playing both online poker and land-based poker without a strategy will only make you lose money frequently.

The poker odds chart below will give you an idea about the probability of making each poker hand. The higher the ratio, the less likely it is that you will make that hand.

Poker handOdds of making it
Royal flush650,000:1
Straight flush72,192:1
Four of a kind4,164:1
Full house693:1
Flush508:1
Straight254:1
Three of a kind47:1
Two pair21:1
One pair1.3:1
High card0:1

## Pot odds and equity in poker

Before delving into equity pot odds, let’s differentiate between the two. So far, we’ve identified that pot odds refer to the ratio of the size of the pot in relation to the bet size that you are facing.

Equity, on the other hand, refers to the percentage chance that your hand will win the final pot (at showdown). It takes into account the strength of your hand, as well as your opponent’s range of potential hands. For example, if you have a flush draw and there is one card left to come, your equity is the percentage chance that you will make your flush by the river.

Let’s consider the chart below.

Pot oddsEquity required to call
2:133%
3:125%
4:120%
5:117%
6:114%

This is how to use this chart. First, calculate the pot odds when your opponent bets. Once you identify the ratio, find the corresponding equity that is required to call their wager.

## How to use outs and pot odds in poker

Calculating your number of outs in poker is roughly what makes successful players stand out from the rest. However, before you gain access to this handy trait, you’ll have to know the poker hand rankings like the back of your hand!

After that, have a look at the board. Are there enough suited cards for many people to make a flush? In the same scenario, are straight flush draws possible, seeing as there are several cards with the same suit in play? These are questions that you should be asking yourself at all times.

Number of outsPot odds
14:1 (20%)
28:1 (11.1%)
312:1 (7.7%)
416:1 (5.9%)
520:1 (4.8%)
624:1 (4.2%)
728:1 (3.6%)
832:1 (3.1%)
936:1 (2.7%)
1040:1 (2.4%)

Above is a simplified chart that should give you an idea of the number of outs and your own odds to make a call profitable. Keep in mind that other factors may affect these numbers, such as table position.

## Pot odds and implied odds poker

The concept of implied odds is as important in poker as both pot odds and pot equity. Implied odds refer to the potential additional winnings you could make in future streets if you hit your hand (obtain the winning card that makes a hand combination).

Implied odds take into account the likelihood of your opponent continuing to bet and the size of those bets. For example, if you have an open-ended straight draw and you think your opponent will continue betting if you hit a straight, then you have good implied odds to call the current bet. In general, open-ended straight draws have good potential, with winning cards being more than possible if you’re in early streets.

Let’s say that we’re at a Limit hold’em table and our opponent bets €10 into a €50 pot on the flop, giving you pot odds of 6:1 (whereby your call of €10 would give you a chance of winning €60). However, with both the turn and the river yet to arrive, your implied odds become 7:1 or even 8:1.

Pot oddsImplied odds
2:13:1
3:14:1
4:15:1
5:16:1
6:17:1
7:18:1
8:19:1

In general, higher pot odds and higher implied odds make a call more profitable. However, it’s important to consider the strength of your hand, the range of hands your opponent could have and other factors when making your decision to call or not.

## Summary

Although poker is, to some extent, a game of luck, it is largely a game of skill and strategy. Be it Texas hold’em or Pot-Limit Omaha, understanding your chances of winning before getting pot-committed will inevitably help your bankroll in the long run.

As we’ve explained above, calculating the expected value of your winning odds isn’t very complex. Therefore, we advise you to use pot odds to your advantage before choosing to go all-in for that juicy final pot!

## FAQ

### ⭐ What do pot odds mean in poker?

Pot odds refer to the ratio of the amount of money in the pot in comparison to the amount of money you need to call to stay in the hand. It helps you determine the probability of winning a hand and whether it's profitable to call or not.

### ⭐ How to figure out pot odds in poker?

To figure out pot odds in poker, divide the amount you need to call by the total pot size, then convert it to a percentage. That percentage represents the minimum winning probability you need to make a profitable call.

### ⭐ Do you include your bet while calculating poker pot odds?

No. When calculating pot odds in poker, you only consider the amount you need to call to stay in the hand, not the amount you have already wagered.