Odds and Pot Odds 

Before proceeding with
this article you have to
read “Outs for Dummies”,
“Probabilities for
Dummies” and “Pot Odds
for Dummies” first.
Please skip back, if you
haven’t read them yet. 

Good call, bad call 

The pot odds are the
ratio of the wager and
the pot. The odds are
the ratio of win and
loss. If the wager is
small compared to the
potential winnings, your
chance of winning can
also be small. 

A player has to pay 10
to win 100. This ratio
is very good; the pot
odds are 10:1. That
means that his chance of
winning can be pretty
small, exactly 10:1. 91
% of the time he looses
his small wager of 10,
but he wins nice 100 in
the other 9 %. The
payment of 100 is so
high compared to the
wager that his odds
don't have to be very
high. 

Vice versa: A player has
to pay 100 to win 10.
This ratio is rather bad
and he must be damn sure
to win (exactly 91 %). 

This is the whole
secret: If the odds are
better than the pot
odds, it's a good bet. 

Odds and pot odds in
praxis 

Supposing, you have a
straight draw on the
flop with 8 outs. There
are 100 in the pot and
your opponent is betting
100. What are you doing
with this draw? First of
all, you calculate the
pot odds which are 2:1
(200:100). Then you take
a look at the
probability of hitting
the straight on the
turn. 8 x 2 = 16. 84/16
= 5,25. The odds of
hitting one of the 8
outs are about 5:1. 

Now you simply have to
connect the pot odds
with the odds. The pot
odds are 2:1, while the
odds are 5:1. Because of
the fact that 5 is
bigger than 2, a call
would be a bad
investment. Let's take a
look why: 

There are 100 in the
pot, the opponent is
betting 100 and you have
to call 100 to see the
turn.16 % of the time
you hit the straight and
win 200. 84 % of the
time you miss and loose
100. 

This brings us to the
following calculation:
0,16 x 200 + 0,84 x
(100) =  52. Because
of the fact that the
result is negative, it
would be a bad call
which costs a lot of
money in the long run.


How many outs do you
need to call those 100
on the flop? 

Supposing, you now have
12 outs, what gives you
about 3:1 odds (12 x 2 =
24, 76/24 = 3). 25 % of
the time you hit and win
200. 75 % of the time
you miss and loose 100.
0,25 x 200 + 0,75 x (
100) =  25 

The result is still
negative and a call
would be bad. 

Supposing, you have 17
outs which equal 2:1 in
odds. 

33 % of the time you hit
and 66 % of the time you
miss:
0,33 x 200 + 0,66 x
(100) = 0
At this point the
socalled break even
point is reached. If the
odds equal exactly the
pot odds (2:1 in this
case) the expected value
of a call is 0 and it
doesn’t matter if you
call or fold. 

Now you have a flush
draw with one over card
giving you 12 outs. The
player now moves allin
with 1000 chips. There
are 500 in the pot. Do
you call or fold? 

With 12 outs, the odds
are about 1:1 (12 x 4 =
48 or almost 50 %):
0,5 x 1500 + 0,5 x
(1000) = 250 

That means that you earn
an average of 250 with a
call, irrespective of
the result. (Again, you
have to think in the
long term!) 

