Beginner’s Guide to Poker Odds

If you have a basic understanding of Texas Holdem poker, including the poker hand rankings, but want to take your game to the next level, it’s vital that you grasp the concept of poker odds. Not only will this improve your overall understanding of the game, but it will help you remain at the table longer, make smarter plays, and put you in a better position to win.

This informative guide will teach you how to calculate odds and assess your chances of making Texas Holdem poker hands. Before you know it, you’ll be raising big and taking home the pot!

Poker Hand Rankings

Before you can start to understand how to calculate poker odds, it’s important to know the rankings for all the Texas Holdem poker hands. Knowing which cards are needed to complete certain hands is vital to calculating your odds in poker, as the winning hands have varying probabilities. For a recap on poker hand rankings take a look at our guide about how to play Texas Holdem.

How do Poker Odds Work?

When you calculate poker odds, you’re judging how likely it is that something is going to happen, as opposed to how unlikely it is. For example, a coin toss has a 50/50 chance of landing on heads or tails, which is commonly expressed as 1:1. As well as being used to calculate odds, this figure lets you know the payout that you would receive should your bet win. If you bet £10 on heads and your opponent bet £10 on tails, and heads won, you’d receive £20 as the 1:1 odds mean that you win the opponent’s wager and get your own back, doubling your money.

When learning how to calculate poker odds, your skills will be applied to the likelihood of certain cards being drawn to complete your hand. The higher the poker odds (50:1 for example), the less likely they are to come up, whereas the lower the odds, the more likely they are to appear!

How to Calculate Poker Odds: Counting Outs

Before you can calculate odds in Texas Holdem, it’s important to understand how to count your ‘outs’. In poker, an ‘out’ refers to any card that will improve your hand and possibly make it into a winning one. For example, if you draw a 10s and 7s, and the flop comes up Ks, 9s, 5d, Jc, you have a flush draw – which means you’re one card from completing a flush. To learn your outs and poker odds you need to count how many Hearts are left in the deck. Any suit has 13 cards in it, and with four Hearts visible, we know there are nine Hearts available to you, meaning you have nine outs.

Now that you can count your outs, you can calculate your poker odds. There are 52 cards in the deck before the draw, with two in your hand and four on the flop, meaning that there are 46 unseen cards. Following the previous example, if you minus the nine possible outs, there are 37 cards that will make you lose. If you compare the cards that will give you a winning hand with the ones that won’t, the poker odds are 37:9 – which simplifies to 4:1. In this scenario, you’re four times more likely to lose than to win!

What are Pot Odds?

Now that you know how to calculate poker odds, you have to decide whether your hand is worth betting on. This is done by comparing your actual poker odds to the pot odds. If there is £90 in the pot after the flop and your opponent makes a raise of £10, there is £100 in the pot, which you could potentially win if you call the bet with another £10. Effectively, you’re betting your £10 against the £100 in the pot, with poker odds of 10:1.

If you’re on the flush draw and you calculate odds of 4:1, with a £10 bet you’re only expected to win £40. Compared to the pot odds of 10:1, where you could potentially walk away with £100, the obvious move is to call your opponents bet, as your actual odds of producing a winning hand are greater than the pot odds!

Despite a flush being high in the poker hand rankings you could still lose. However, you can calculate the odds of losing in order to understand your overall profit. If the same hands appeared five times in your game and you win the first £100 but lose the next four hands, you’ll have lost £40, leaving a profit of £60.

Common Texas Holdem Hand Odds

With the knowledge of poker odds at your disposal, we’ve done some of the hard work and giving you the quick odds for a random selection of common poker hands on the river:

Of course, there’s always the risk that your opponent could have a superior hand, so it’s wise to consult the pot odds before placing a bet.

Now that you know how to calculate poker odds, why not put your skills to the test in one of our online Texas Holdem games!