Pot Odds

At first glance pot odds can look like a difficult concept to take in. Beginners are already busy trying to figure the basic game out and when they hear that they must also understand pot odds in order to succeed, they can easily get discouraged. To make use of pot odds one does not have to be a mathematical genius and there are short cuts to use in order to calculate the odds. Poker is still a great game without expert knowledge in reading the pot odds, but a player shouldn't back away from learning about them just because it seems a bit tricky. After playing a few games the numbers and the actions they require will become quite obvious without having to pound on the matter for too long.

Definition of Pot Odds

Pot odds describe the amount of money that you can win in relation to the amount of money that you have to wager. When a pot consists of $100 and an opponent bets $50 the pot odds are 3:1. This means that you can win $150 or lose $50. A player will compare the odds of his hand to the odds of the pot in order to determine how to play. When a player puts money in the pot he must regard them as the pot's money and not his and make his calculations accordingly. Doing the opposite is a mistake that can cause very bad moves.

Why do the Pot Odds Matter?

A player usually has three options when it gets to be his turn to bet. He can call, raise or fold but it might not always be so obvious just what option is the right one. By learning about pot odds a player can have great help in deciding what to do at this point. By seeing if the odds for getting a certain hand are equal or less than the odds of winning the pot a player could affect the outcome of the play both for himself and the other players. It is really a shame to lose money when this strategy will let a player keep better control of his game. There are also many advices that are based on the pot odds and using these could lead to a higher level of poker play. So a player that wants to become more skilled should definitely invest some time in understanding the pot odds.

How to Calculate the Odds

First of all, it is a must to know just how much is in the pot. If the game is a Limit Game the pot can be calculated by counting the number of bets that are in it. Playing online makes it all much easier since the pot size is always visible and all a player has to do is to divide the amount he must bet with the amount of the pot. There are many great tools online for calculating the pot odds quickly and they also come with thorough explanations that will help new players to understand how to use the information. Many poker rooms offer help with this through poker schools where players can try out the strategy without having to put any money into the game.

Ways to keep better track of the Pot Odds

A beginner player should consider where he sits around the table because player position relates greatly to the pot odds. A late position is always to be preferred when it comes to keeping track of the pot odds. This means to sit as far away as possible from the initial bets, the small and the big blind. A player that sits in a late position will also bet late which means that he sees all the other players' actions before he has to make a decision. This way he will know the condition of the pot and be better able to calculate his odds than what a player in an early position would be.

Is Pot Odds really necessary?

According to most the pot odds are essential for a good poker play but there are some voices that claim that they are being overrated. That is, they aren't really all that difficult to deal with if a player uses the tools available. Good advice for a beginner starting to pay attention to the pot odds, is to use a readymade chart. Chances are that you will see the same moves coming up again and again and with a chart it is possible to simply study the right answers to the most common situations.

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