Poker Odds: Risk vs Reward
Poker is a game of strategy, not guesswork. It is a game of math, not chance. It is a game of skill, not luck.
One of the poker skills that mean your survival in poker is calculating poker odds.
When you play poker, you have several poker odds to consider. One would be hand odds, or the likelihood of a hand to occur in a given number of cards in a deck. You have more chances of getting, for instance, a pair than a royal flush in a 52-deck card.
Knowing your poker odds of hitting on the card that you need is also important in every game decision-making. First, you need to figure out your outs. Outs is the number of cards that will make your hand better. If you have to kings, for instance, your outs are two kings.
To calculate your probability of hitting, you need to divide your outs with the number of cards you have not yet seen. Preflop, this means dividing 2 (your outs) by 50. Multiply the quotient to 100% (or move the decimal point two places to the right), and the product is
your poker odds.
Say, no king turns up on the flop. Your odds of getting the cards you need on the Turn would now be 2 divided by 47 (you have now seen three flop cards and 2 pocket cards).
Once reaching the flop, you need to calculate your pot odds to determine what next move is best. Pot odds matter particularly when you have a drawing hand as opposed to having a made hand. For a made hand, you can call and raise. For example, you have pocket cards Queen and Ace. If Flop turns up with Q, 5, and K, you have a made hand.
With a drawing hand, you need to figure out mathematically whether you should chase or give up your hand.
First, you need to calculate your betting limit in a given round by multiplying the amount of the pot with your odds of getting an out. Your bet limit is the max of the amount that you can call.
To calculate your pot odds, you need to compare your poker odds of getting an out with the total pot amount and the amount you need to bet or risk. Ideally, you need to have a large odds of getting an out, and a small bet to make relative to the reward.
Calculating your pot odds is calculating risk-reward ratio. The risk is the amount of bet you need to put into the pot. The reward is the total size of the pot.
Mastering how to calculate your poker odds make take some time and a lot of practices. Such effort will pay off, eventually. Understanding your poker odds is understanding when a risk will more likely end in a reward.