Calculating Pot Odds

A certain amount of success in poker can be attributed to luck, and some success can also be attributed to a player's confidence level and the ability to go with a gut feeling. However, real success in poker is also reliant on the ability to make the mathematics of poker work in your favor. Specifically, this means being able to calculate pot odds.

What Are Pot Odds?

Pot odds are calculated as a ratio of the amount of money in the pot versus the risk or cost of a particular move. In other words, if there is a large amount of money in the pot and a good chance that the hand you want to play will win that round, then your pot odds are good. If there is a large amount of money in the pot and a big risk involved in your potential play, the pot odds are not as favorable.

The Benefits of Calculating Pot Odds

Knowing how to calculate the pot odds will almost always give you a leg up on the competition. Poker can be a stressful game, and there are often myriad possibilities for how you can react to a flop or a raise. Knowing the pot odds--or at least being able to accurately estimate them--will help you decide when to take a chance and when to play it safe.

Calculating pot odds correctly also involves paying close attention to your opponents, and analyzing their potential hands and their moves. If an opponent makes an unexpected move or pulls of a bluff because you weren't paying attention, the calculations you've made will come to naught.