Pot odds

You’ll see pot odds mentioned on every poker resource you look at for advice. You can’t avoid them. Pot odds are invaluable to success at poker, and that’s why we’ve included this crucial section.

Once you hit the flop, you should use pot odds to determine your next action. By the time the flop is dealt, you’ll be in one of two categories: you’ll either be winning (with a “made hand”), or you’ll want to improve your hand (“drawing,” or going for better cards). If you have a made hand, you should bet and raise. Don’t worry about pot odds yet. You’ll want to win the pot now because more cards can only help your opposition. An example of a made hand would be an ace and a king, with the board showing a king, jack and 4.

If you don’t have a made hand, you’ll be drawing. This is when pot odds come into play—when it’s time to decide whether to call or fold. First, you must count the number of outs you have. Outs, if you remember, are cards that will make your hand the best hand. For example, if you have a king and a jack, and the board shows a queen, 10 and 7, your outs are four aces and four 9’s. That’s eight outs total. Calculate your percentage chance of hitting an out by taking the number of outs times two, then adding two. Once you’ve got this number (in our example, that number is 18%), multiply it by the value of the pot to see the value of the maximum bet that you can call. Imagine that the pot in our example was $200. Eighteen percent of $200 is $36, so you should call any bet that’s less than or equal to $36.

Once again, the formula for calculating pot odds is:

(# of outs) x (2) + (2) = APPROXIMATE PERCENTAGE OF HITTING.


(Pot total) x (Percentage of hitting an out) = YOUR BETTING LIMIT.

And please, please, PLEASE remember to convert your percentage to a decimal before multiplying it with the total of the pot. Your math teacher would never forgive you, and your betting limit would be dangerously high…