Texas Hold’em Odds and Probabilities Part 2

Let’s look at an example, which will clarify this a bit more. You are in a $3/$6 game and it’s your turn to bet after you have just seen the turn. You are holding 7♠ 10♥ and the board is showing 2♦ 5♥ 8♠ 9♥ So, you’ve got an outside straight draw, which means you have 8 outs (there are two numbers of any suit which will give you the nut straight – 6♥, 6♣, 6♦, 6♠, J♥, J♣, J♦, J♠). Should you risk it and call the bet, hoping to see your card and probably win the hand, or should you fold? This is where analyzing your pot odds can help you decide.

You know there are 52 cards in a deck and apart from your two hole cards and the four shared cards on the board (the flop and the turn), the rest are unknown, which means there are still 46 cards left. You have just established that you have 8 outs, so 46 divided by 8 gives you roughly 6/1 odds (5.75 to be exact). Now, you must look at the pot and calculate what kind of odds you are getting if you win. Let’s say there is nearly $80 in there and to call you need to put in another $10. This means that your pot odds are 8/1 ($80/$10). When your chance of winning the hand is greater than the pot odds, it means you should call. Of course in this case, you are not guaranteed to see that 6 or Jack, but over time you will win more cash than you will lose when you adhere to the rules of pot odds calling.

The most important thing about pot odds is understanding the concept and why staying in with certain hands loses money and staying in with others makes money. To understand the concept, consider this simple sentence: “If the odds of you getting the card you need to make your hand are less than the pot odds, you should bet”.

One thing that many amateurs should remember is that money already entered into the pot cannot be factored into your decision. Just because you have already contributed to the pot, it doesn’t mean you should still consider this money when making your decision whether or not to call the next bet. That money is no longer yours and, while it might be difficult to accept, it has no bearing on how you should proceed.