By Oddvar Pettersen
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To be successful at poker you should, at any time during the play of a hand, be able to calculate the odds of catching your hand to the odds the pot is giving you.
Knowing the probability of making a specific hand in poker can be done by calculating hand odds. Figuring out how many outs you have will give you the possibility of calculating the number of times you will hit your hand by the river.
Lets say your'e dealt A-9 of hearts in Texas Hold'em and the flop comes up showing two hearts. Your hand odds for hitting another heart by the river will be approximately 36% or 3 to 1. (you will hit your hand 1 out of 3 times)
You can figure this out by first finding the number of outs that you have. Outs are the number of cards remainig in the deck ( not visibe to you) that can help you make your hand.
So if we are using the hand above as an example and you hold A-9 of hearts and catch two hearts on the flop, than you have 9 more hearts in the deck that can help you complete your flush. 2 hearts in your hand + 2 hearts on the table minus 13 hearts in total = 9 outs.
If you multiply your number of outs by 4, than you will get an approximate percentage of hitting your hand by the river (9x4=36%).
Poker pot odds is the ratio between the size of the pot compared to how much it will cost you to call a bet from another player. The higher the ratio between the size of the pot and the cost of calling a bet, the better your poker pot odds are.
If there are $40 in the pot after the flop and a player bets $10 and two other players calls his bet then you are getting 7 to 1 in pot odds. If you are chasing the A-9 flush draw from the flop , than you are getting a 36% or 3 to 1 in hand odds to catch your card at the river, so calling or even raising this bet will be a correct decision to make.
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