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How to Calculate Poker Odds

Implied Odds and Advanced Techniques
This is a good time to point out something that is often confusing to beginning players when computing pot odds. The beginning player often thinks he already has so much money in the pot and believes that this somehow goes into the computation of the pot odds. The fact of the matter is any money already in the pot is not yours. It was yours before you put it into the pot, and the only way you will get it back is to win the pot. This is the reason that money you have already placed into the pot is not used in computing pot odds.

Another factor to consider is something called "
implied odds." Implied odds take into account not only the money in the pot and the amount of the bet but also the possibility of collecting extra bets when you hit your hand. For instance, in the previous example, if all four players act before you call on the turn, more than likely one or more of them will call a bet or raise by you on the river if you hit your hand.

Their calls on the river actually improve your pot odds because you can add these bets into your calculations. In this instance, you can safely figure on adding at least one and probably two bets to the pot. Be careful with your use of implied odds in close situations. It is very important not to assume future bets of which you aren't certain. Many players misread the situation and/or their opponents and rely too heavily on implied odds resulting in poor decisions. Knowing your opponents' tendencies is a must when using implied odds.

Some advanced players raise on the
flop in order to give them correct pot odds to call on the turn if their hand does not improve. This is an advanced play and should be done only when you are a favorite to win the hand or have tremendous implied odds. If you are a novice, simply mastering your ability to understand and use pot odds should be your goal. As you grow as a player, you will start to see situations in which you can use advanced plays such as this.

Now that we have discussed pot odds, it is time to see how much you have learned. In the next section, you will be presented with three hands and asked to calculate your own pot odds.

For more information on poker odds and winning at poker, try the following links:
  • To see all of our articles on poker rules and advice, go to our main article on How To Play Poker.
  • For an introduction to the game, skim over these Poker Basics.
  • So you think you've got the best hand. Maximize your winnings with these Poker Betting Tips.
  • Have you calculated that your hand is a loser, but you think you can fake out the opposition? Be sure you know How to Bluff in Poker.