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Calculating pot odds is the basis for every successful poker strategy

Calculating pot odds is the basis for every successful poker strategy

To a beginner, calculating poker pot odds can seem a very daunting task but it is a fundamental skill that any successful poker player needs to grasp. Pot odds are essentially, in layman’s terms, your probability or likelihood of winning any given hand. This is so crucial in the game of poker because, based on this you can calculate the number of outs you have in any hand (as an estimated figure) and therefore have an idea on the amount you need to call to see another card. This short article will take you through some of the essential details as to how you can calculate pot odds, what exactly they are and how to incorporate them in your playing style.

Why should you calculate pot odds?

Poker is a long haul game and so having a logical and effective poker strategy is imperative to your success in the long run. The ability to calculate pot odds, not only accurately but quickly, is one of the most crucial and fundamental skills you need to add to your poker repertoire. For this reason, having this in your arsenal can help you have a significant advantage over your lesser experienced poker players who are perhaps just starting out. Equally, if you are just starting out, calculating pot odds should be the first strategic skill that you master.

It is also a relatively simple skill to master as long as you understand some of the specifics and intricacies involved; before long it will become second nature to you.

The different types of pot odds and outs:

Calculating your pot odds is all about logically predicting how many outs you need until you will have a potentially winning hand. This is particularly helpful with regards to a long term strategy. In the precarious game that is poker, you will inevitably occasionally have to put money on a bad hand and so the ability to calculate your odds and outs strategically, can mean that you can make a better hand than your opponent later down the line. The cards which cause you to have a winning hand are known as ‘outs’. Whilst calculating these outs will never be an exact science, if you strategically set your opponent up to be on a specific range of probable hands, it will be much easier to calculate your outs.

There are, however, different types of outs and odds which can catch rookie players off guard and which must be looked out for:

Half-outs occur when, what you might believe to be outs only count as half. This arises when you make your hand but are still overpowered by your opponent’s flush.

Hidden outs are outs which will not necessarily help your hand in the first instance but which can still damage your opponent’s hand.

Implied odds serve as an additional tool to calculating your pot odds. The implied odds are essentially the calculation of your probable or expected win after you make your draw. In essence, implied odds can be a very useful tool when you are determining whether you should draw your hand when you are faced with the dilemma of a raise.

Calculating your pot odds quickly and effectively:

Although poker is a long haul game, you still need to be able to think on your feet and so you will not always have an abundance of time to calculate your pot odds and required odds. Thus, there are some helpful methods for speeding up this process.

The Rule of Two and Four- The Rule of Two and Four is when you multiply the amount of outs you have by four, with two cards still yet to come. This will result in you reaching a quick and accurate estimated percentage of you making your hand by the river.

The Poker pot odds formula:

Grasping the concept of poker pot odds can be made much easier by having this equation to mind:

The monetary value already in the pot + the money added to the pot in the current round, divided by the amount you have to call.

This is a very simple equation which can be applied in practice. If, for example, there was £300 in the main pot and another £300 added in the current round and you had £100 to call, this would yield a ratio or pot odd of 6:1.

All in all, once you have mastered this fundamental poker skill, you will be able to move on to and learn more complicated poker moves. Calculating your pot odds and outs, though, must become second nature before you can progress or have any chance of winning big!

Managing your bankroll is just as important as your poker hands

Managing your bankroll is just as important as your poker hands

When it comes to playing poker, it’s necessary to understand proper poker bankroll management. It’s no joke when people lose all they have on hands they can’t afford to play, but even on the less extreme spectrum, poor money management at poker could leave you short on money to pay your bills one month if you’re not careful. It’s also very easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending if you gamble small amounts but on a regular basis. As such, we’ve come up with some money management tips to make sure you get to enjoy all the fun of playing poker without having to worry about your finances.

Poker bankroll tips

Your poker bankroll is your means of playing poker, so it’s important to manage it effectively and know your bankroll. Proper bankroll management involves knowing what sort of funds you have to play with and using them to dictate what stakes you can afford. There’s no shame in not being able to meet the minimum buy-in at a table. Managing your bankroll effectively means extracting the maximum value from your allotted funds, so below are some things to always keep in mind.

Wall off your bankroll

You should set a very firm boundary between what money is your bankroll and the rest of your funds. Treat these two funds as entirely separate resources. Knowing how much money you have to spend on poker allows you to work out what sort of money you’re able to play with in a typical hand and the right buy-in price for you. Always remember to prioritise your other funds and never gamble with money that you need to pay bills or meet other financial obligations!

Understand your limits

Knowing how much money you have to play with in your poker bankroll means you can work out how much you can stand to lose. If your poker bankroll is £500 and you lost it all, which is a very real possibility, what would that mean to you? Maybe you could fill it back up again without worry, or maybe it would take you several months to save up. Knowing this puts in perspective the sort of minimum buy-ins you should be playing with. If one buy-in wipes you out, then should you lose that buy-in you are out of the game. Conversely, if you can afford multiple buy-ins then you have a shot at winning your money back and can play for longer.

How often do you play?

If you’re the type of person to only play poker once or twice a month, it stands to reason you can afford higher stakes on the same amount of money as someone who plays poker every weekend or someone who plays poker every day. Given the same bankroll figure for a month, each of these people will need to adjust their stakes accordingly depending on how often they play. Tracking this information and working out your hourly expenditure rate while playing poker gives you a fair and roughly accurate picture of the amount of money you spend whenever you play poker. It also gives you an idea of the amounts of money you need to be winning to break even or come out ahead.

Giving enough slack to have fun

Understandably most of this article has been aimed at saving money and not spending amounts you can’t afford, but likewise it’s important to set yourself an amount you can have fun with. Setting yourself a short bankroll means each play is high stakes and risks wiping you out. This can be stressful and cause more frustration than fun, so don’t be too frugal that you don’t even enjoy yourself.


Proper poker bankroll management is just as important as managing the poker hands you play with. Knowing your limits and having perspective on the amounts of money each hand represents to you is important in having fun without letting things get out of hand. Cases of people losing all they own to playing with money they couldn’t afford are rare and extreme but they do happen. In less extreme examples, it can be easy to follow the urge to play ‘just one more hand’ in order to ‘win back’ what you’ve already lost a few too many times. Managing your bankroll effectively means you can play poker and have fun without worrying about whether you can afford each hand that you play.

Texas Hold’em vs Omaha Hold’em Poker Strategy

Texas Hold’em vs Omaha Hold’em Poker Strategy

If you read a lot about poker, you’ll have noticed that a somewhat different tone creeps in when people are writing about Omaha hold’em poker. They’ll talk about “stepping up” from Texas hold’em to Omaha. There’ll be mention that someone who thinks they’re good at Texas can make beginner’s mistakes once they move to Omaha.

The general impression is that moving to Omaha means mixing it with the big boys (and girls!) There’s an implied challenge “Go on then – if you think you’re hard enough”.

Well, poker’s poker, and there’s nothing different about the hands in Omaha, they’re the same hands that players spend their lives calculating and chasing. And there’s also nothing different about the betting rounds either – four of them just as in Texas Hold’em.

And yet – all that talk of Omaha hold’em poker as a “rollercoaster” isn’t entirely wide of the mark. And the reason lies in the way the game varies from Texas, and what that means in terms of your Omaha poker strategy. So let’s note the differences first, then talk Omaha hold’em strategy.

What’s so different about Omaha hold’em poker?

With Omaha you get dealt four cards in the hole. And that’s a world of difference. The possible hands you can make increase exponentially. Unfortunately, so do the possible hands of everyone else at the table. And further, when you calculate your final hand, you can only use two of those initial hole cards to make the hand. Also you must use two of them – the other three need to be on the table.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 1 – Don’t overrate your hand

If you’re used to Texas, getting a higher pair in the hole is a great start. One mistake you can make, is to get say, a pair of aces in the hole, with a couple of other cards that are not going to help towards any kind of hand.

The amount of excitement you should feel in Omaha is about half the amount of excitement you would feel in Texas. There are two reasons for this – everyone else also had four cards in the hole, and they too have interesting starting cards. It’s very easy to overrate how uniquely good your hand is, and to over back it. Lots of people round the table think they have a winning hand on the way. Nearly all of them are wrong.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 2 – Don’t abandon your folding discipline

If you’ve played poker for any length of time, you know that money management and financial discipline are key skills for a player who wants to be in the game long enough to get a great hand. Part of this is having the discipline to fold unless there are strong reasons for staying in.

But with Omaha hold’em poker, you can start to lose this discipline because hands so often look as though they have fantastic potential. People are very bad at assigning a comparative value to others’ hands and the four cards in the hole mean that it’s easy to underestimate the other hands round the table. So make sure your Omaha hold’em strategy includes keeping your stack intact, so it’s there when you need it.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 3 – Understand the betting limit structure

Texas hold’em is often played with no limit, whereas Omaha frequently has a pot limit. Omaha online poker does offer games with no limit, but nothing like as many as Texas. Many people find the no limit aspect of Texas exciting and therefore prefer it.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips #4 Draw to win

Don’t draw in the hope of filling out hopeless runs, or minor flushes. You need to draw to “the nuts” – the winning hand you can make. If you can’t make one, fold – your nascent winning hand could be turned to dust and ashes by a redraw.

These are some starting strategies to help you begin playing Omaha hold ‘em. You’ll find the pots bigger but the higher amount of action can mislead new players into imagining it’s a fast and furious version of Texas hold ‘em. In fact, it’s a far more complex game because of those four hole cards – so start cautiously, watch what happens and don’t get carried away by a pair of Aces in the hole.