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Home > Poker Strategy > Pot Odds

Poker Strategy - Pot Odds Theory

When the flop comes, you will generally be in one of three situations.

Situation #1: Your hand totally misses the board.

Your Hand

You have nothing, so you should check and fold.

Situation #2: You hit the flop good and hold a strong hand.

Your Hand

In these situations, you generally bet or raise.

Situation #3: Drawing hand

The third possibility is that you do not hold a strong hand, but it is possible for you to make a strong hand if the turn or river gives you a good card. This situation is known as "drawing." Example:

Your Hand

In this situation, a spade will make you a flush, and an Ace or King will bring you top pair.

When you are 'drawing', there are several tools that will help you make your decisions. A very important tool is "pot odds." Calculating pot odds is fairly simple. First, you must count the number of outs you have. An out is a card that you need to improve your hand.

Your Hand

In the example here, your outs are 4 Aces and 4 Nines, or 8 outs total. To calculate your percentage of hitting an out on the next card, take the # of outs x 2, then add 1. In the above situation having 8 outs, you have about a 17% chance of hitting on the turn.

As you figure out your chance of hitting a draw, multiply it by the pot + the bet to see what the maximum bet is that you can call.

For example, if the bet is $10 and the pot is $90, the bet plus the pot is $100.

Now let's say you have 6 outs (6 cards will help you). This means you have about a 13% chance of hitting. If the pot is $90 and you must call $10, you should call because you can call as long as you have at least a 10% chance to hit (10/100, the total pot is 90+10). However, if the bet to you was $20, you should fold, because that would require a 18.2% chance of hitting (20/110). For more practice with pot odds, check out our Pot Odds Calculator or for various charts and the training menu click here.