How to calculate pot odds

Pot odds in poker

Pot odds are considered the key component in poker math. Awareness and correct application of pot odds is a "fierce weapon" in the arsenal of any player who hopes to reach success in poker. In this article, we will give you informative examples about calculations of pot odds, as well as explain the meaning of pot odds in a nutshell. If you want to get acquainted with given subject in more details, we offer you to read our article devoted to Texas Holdem pot odds

Every player wants to make unmistakable and lucrative decisions. If you belong to such group of players, you need to use correct information concerning your game situation based on the pot odds. Clearly, this won't show you the rivals’ holding or accurate predictions about your victory in a particular hand. However, this concept will provide you with statistical data about profitability of your cards. As it is known, poker implies many complex decisions, so you should collect as much information as possible.   

Concept of poker pot odds

Poker odds are the ratio of current size of bank to the sum you should invest in order to continue participation in betting rounds. Let’s assume that our bank consists of $1 000 and you should pay $500 as a call. It follows that holdem pot odds are 1 000: 500, or 2: 1. If the bank consisted of $1 500 rather than $1 000, then your pot odds would be 1 500: 500, or 3: 1.

How to calculate pot odds?

It won’t be a problem to compute texas holdem poker hands odds. In online games, you will have enough time to discern your chances and probability of winning.

Pot odds in poker

Pot odds are calculated by the ratio of all investments in the bank to the bet you have to call.

Example №1

There are nine dollars in the pot, your rival decides to bet one dollar.  Consequently, you need to shell out one dollar and pot odds will be 10:1, as the pot consists of $10 ($9 + your rival's $1).

Example №2

Participant has K♥ 8♥. Board cards: A♥ J♥ 4♣ 7♣. It therefore follows that heart on the river can lead to the victory (let’s assume that one of the rivals has an ace). The deck includes 52 cards, and in this example, we can already observe the four hearts out of 13 ones: nine hearts (13-4 = 9) with the remaining 46 cards (52-6 = 46). Thus, the participant has nine outs, so the probability of improving is 9/46 (* 100) = 19.6%, and the chances of improving are 9: (46-9) = 9: 37 or roughly 1: 4.

Algorithm for calculating pot odds

Assume that the bank consists of hundred dollars and your rival invests $50. Hence, the pot size will reach the mark of $150. That is, you get 150: 50 chances for call, which can be reduced to 3: 1.

After that, you are able to change the result into a percentage in order to determine how much equity your hand requires to make a profitable call.

So, we propose you to get acquainted with a simple algorithm for changing your pot odds into a percentage.

Compute the final pot size after your call. It is required to find out the pot size if you call. Hence, the bank is $150 before your call, and your call is $50. So, if you prefer to call, the pot will be $200 (let’s call this numerical value as a final pot size).

Divide the call size by the final pot size. In our case, this is 0.25 ($50 call size/ $200 final pot size).

Multiply this value by 100 in order to get percentage. That is, 0.25 * 100 = 25%. It follows that your call will lead to the victory more than 25% of the time in order your bet to be profitable.

Pot odds in poker

Your rival's pot odds

In betting rounds, it is important to take into account both your pot odds and your rivals’ ones. Based on this information, you can apply bet size that will be unprofitable for your competitor in the long run. He will be confused and go into the red, while you will make profit due to his unreasonable moves.  

There are several types of bets in relation to the pot size:

  • 1/4 - 1/2 of the pot. Such a raise will be lucrative for the rival who tries to improve his combination to a set/ second pair/ straight or flush. If you have a win-win holding, you will go into the red in the long run due to such raises.
  • 2/3 – 3/4 of the pot. This raise will rarely provide your competitor with profitable pot odds. He will only make a profit in prospect if he has outs for a straight, flush or top pair at the same time. Such bets should always be used against the loose players who stubbornly see the common cards to the river with a flush draw or straight draw. These opponents will bring you money in prospect. In the fight against analytical rivals, they will allow you to take bank immediately.  

It is very difficult to carry out such calculations in real time. However, in the process of stable practicing of such calculations, you will learn who to quickly estimate probability of winning with a current holding, and correlate the amount of your investment to the size of potential winning.

You should also learn how to correctly estimate the strength of your rival's hand. Erroneous assumption concerning the opponent's holding can either lead you to a costly mistake or deprive you of a profitable action. If you assume that your combination can be beaten even after the obtaining of necessary outs, then the calculations of pot odds won’t save you.

Your rivals constantly improve their level of play, that's why you need to be one step ahead of them. Good poker players are able to assess the likelihood of their success in a twinkling of an eye and make the correct decisions. To reach this level, you need to constantly improve and develop your play.

If you want to watch the video devoted to this topic, we offer you to get acquainted with the following material:


Odds in poker may seem complex at first glance, however they are considered the basic concept of poker math. If you rely on this information, you will be able to carry out correct moves, which will bring you money in prospect.

To defend your holdings, you should compute pot odds in order to inderstand what size to choose for your bet. If you suppose your rival has a flush draw, you can make a big bet to give him inappropriate chances to call.

Of course, there will always be people who don't care about odds and they will call too frequently. Sometimes such players will be lucky and manage to win the pots. However, in most cases, they will lose. In addition, they will fold with good odds (this mistake is less common, but it also leads to the loss of money).

Apply useful information from our article, which prevent you from mistakes and helps to obtain advantage over your competitors.

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Sunrise Editor
Cardmates journalist, news editor and translator since 2016. Specialization: poker news and review of events.
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