Pot odds – Everything you need to know

Pot odds - Everything you need to know

Definition of pot odds

The ratio of the current pot size compared to the cost of a possible call, is known as pot odds.

This is one of the most important things you will have to calculate, before making strategy decisions in a hand. The less you are risking, compared to your possible reward, the better.

How to calculate pot odds

Just ask yourself 2 questions:

  1. how much is already in the pot, before I call?
  2. how much do I have to put in to make the call?

e.g. Lets say the pot size going into the river is $200. You are heads up with your opponent, and you each have $200 left in your stacks, and your opponent decides to go all-in. What are your pot odds?

The answers to the 2 questions above are:

  1. there is $400 in the pot before you call (the $200 originally in the pot, PLUS the $200 your opponent just bet)
  2. You are being asked if you want to call $200

So the answer is 400:200 or 2:1

Convert to breakeven %

Pot odds of 2:1 mean if you think you have the best hand more than 1/3 i.e. 33.3% of the time, you should call in this instance. Notice, in this example you should be calling even if you expect to lose the hand the majority of times.

We use the following equation to work this out:

Amount that we are being asked to call

(Amount that we are being asked to call ➕ Amount in pot before we call)

As a mental shortcut when you see pot odds of x:y all you have to do is put y as the number at the top of the fraction, and x+y as the number of the bottom.

At UnfairPoker.com we recommend you think about this in the following way: If I choose to call, what % is the call of the new total pot?

Further examples

If you are facing a … pot betYour pot odds are…So Breakeven % is…
1/21.5:0.5 i.e 3:11/4=25%
3/41.75:0.75 i.e 7:33/10=30%
1x2:11/3=33%
2x3:22/5=40%

Pot Odds quiz

If you feel you have mastered pot odds, check out UnfairPoker.com’s interactive pot odds quiz.