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Pot Limit & No Limit Poker : Play Poker

FIGURING THE ODDS

    A big-bet poker player needs to know the exact information about the odds on a wide range of scenarios and the way to calculate these odds whereas a limit poker player can get away by knowing only the approximate odds on a few simple scenarios.

    It is easy to compute the odds on making a hand when there is one card to come. In a standard poker deck, there are 52 cards. Many of them will be unknown and some will be known to you. The odds for making a hand is calculated by simply figuring out the number of unknown cards which make your hand and divide it by the number of unknown cards which leave you a loser.

    Following is an example. The board is K♥-9♥-6♠-4♣ in a hold’em poker game on fourth street. A♥-3♥ is your hand which gives you the nut flush-draw. What are your chances if suppose you hit the flush to win the pot?

    In this example, you know six cards which leave 46 unknown cards. You have a four flush as there are 13 hearts in a deck of cards. There are 9 hearts left for you to catch for the flush which means that out of the 46 unknown cards, 9 make the flush and 37 do not.

    Hence, the odds against making a flush are 37 to 9 or the chance against you are just over 4-1 or a bit worse than one out of five. If the poker game in the above scenario was pot-limit hold’em poker and on fourth street the rival poker bet the pot size, can you call on this hand?

    You are offered a mere 2-1 pot odds as the amount in the pot is twice the amount it costs you to call.  After making your draw, if there is money left to be bet, there is a possibility of money which you make after hitting the flush will justify a call even though you will not get the right price.

    When our calculations have included additional money which we think can be won in further casino betting, then only we use the term “implied odds”. Let us try to understand how the concept of “implied odds” can be used.

    If the rival poker player had bet only $500 which is half the pot size, then should we call now? Now, the odds have changed. To win $1500, it will cost us $500. The price is still wrong for a call if you look only at the pot odds as we are getting 3-1 money odds and are a slightly more than a 4-1 underdog.

    However, it might be right to call if we think that there is a reasonable chance of making some money if we make the flush. We have to use other poker skills to see whether the implied odds justify a call even though we know how to compute the math.

    The rival poker will see three hearts on the board in this particular situation if we make our hand as it is a community card type of poker game. There are chances that he might be nervous at the looks of that last card. The rival poker player might call your bet at limit poker as the terrific pot odds which he is getting means that he cannot afford to fold a possible winner.

    It is very difficult to get the rival poker player to pay us off when we make a hand at pot-limit poker or no-limit poker play, especially when it is something as obvious as making a flush. You have to think about all the factors which could affect the implied odds.

    You will require good judgment in assessing the implied odds for most decisions at big-bet poker in addition to a proper knowledge of the actual odds. The call is not always made more attractive because of implied odds. In certain situations, the real odds on a drawing hand will be worse than they first appear.

    In our above mentioned layout, where the board is K♥-9♥-6♠-4♣ and our holding is A♥-3♥, there are chances of us hitting the flush and still losing. Keep in mind that two of our possible flush cards, the 6♥ and the 4♥ also pair the board.

    If the rival poker player has a set or two fitting pair, the rival poker player will fill up when we hit our flush with either of those board pairing flush cards which means we might have only seven outs instead of nine. If a card hits us as well as the rival poker player, we get to lose huge amount of money.

    The math will obviously change drastically if we make our hand with one card still to come. Instead of one betting ground, there are now two betting grounds on which we might make money. There is a chance that the rival poker player might redraw on the last card and beat us.

    This is very important when drawing at a straight, where either a full house or a flush will beat us on the end. Straights are paid off more easily than a flush or a full house as they have a greater concealment factor. Also, there is another factor which must be taken into consideration while deciding whether to call a bet or not.

    We are still contending for the pot if we call. Besides making the best poker hand, we might also win the pot by making an uncalled bet. We have an opportunity to launch a bluff because of our call. At big-bet poker, retention of “bluffing rights” is of huge importance and should be included while calculating whether to call the rival poker player.

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