Poker odds are an integral part of poker. Poker has grown in popularity throughout the years and there is a lot of discussion as to the optimum number of cards, the best card hands, when to bluff, etc. However, poker odds are usually overlooked by novice poker players. It’s easy to understand why: in poker the outcome of a hand depends on its relative odds with all possible hands; it’s a simple and basic law of mathematics.
In poker, the likelihood of any given type of hand winning can be calculated by calculating the ratio of all possible hands among all conceivable hands. The most popular method of calculating poker odds is the flop – if you hit the flop with a strong hand, then you have a good chance of hitting the flop with a weaker hand. Therefore, the stronger your hand, the slimmer your chances of hitting the flop with a lesser hand. Conversely, if you hit the flop with a weak hand, your odds of hitting the flop with a strong hand go down, since it indicates that your hand is not strong enough.
If we carefully observe these general rules, we can draw some conclusions about poker odds. Firstly, we can conclude that a player with a reasonably good hand odds (say two or better cards) has relatively greater chances of winning the pot than one with worse hand odds (say three or less cards). Secondly, a player with a reasonably good hand odds who bets on the flop has relatively greater chances of winning the pot than one who bets on the turn or river. Finally, a player with a reasonably good hand odds who bets on the flop has relatively greater chances of winning the pot than one who bets on the turn or river. All of these conclusions are based on the assumption that the player bets at the correct time.
In summary, poker odds show how much the house will winnings from each hand. They also indicate the relative strength of the hands (i.e. the implied value of the cards). I have already mentioned the importance of implied value in the context of Texas Hold’em; in this article I am going to explain how it affects the odds of winning.
Let’s first consider poker odds for the flop. The pot odds show that when you have a fairly strong hand, namely an Ace/King or a Queen/Deckard, and you bet on the flop, you stand a very small chance of winning the pot because you are throwing away your starting hand. You need to raise, meaning put more money into the pot than your opponents have put into their pot. The reason why you should do this is because after the flop, all your opponents have their starting hands, and you are just throwing away your chance to make a big profit. Your best bet after the flop is to have a strong hand.
On the flop, you can exploit the pot odds by having an Ace/King or a Queen/Deckard. Having an Ace raises the chance of hitting a flush, because if you hit a flush you will always be ahead in the pot. This means that you could end up throwing away your starting hand anyway, because you would have missed on both of their bets, and if you hit a flush you will be down by one card, putting you ahead in the hand. If you have an Ace/King, then you can bet the same amount as before, but be sure not to call with a full house because the Ace/King will often get trapped. Remember that poker odds are not what they used to be, and so this means hitting flush after flush is still possible, but you might hit a few raises that you could have done without.