Last time in Poker Strategy, we discussed what poker odds are and how to calculate them. Basically, every professional poker player should know how odds work and should be able to calculate them as quickly as possible.
There’s a finite number of hands in poker, meaning that once you get into the swing of things, you will be able to know the odds almost right away. It takes practice, just like everything in poker takes practice and dedication.
The real question that is imposed here is — what should you do when you do know the odds? Sure, you calculated that the odds of winning the hand are, say 3:1. In almost every other casino game, these type of odds should reward you with a prize that is three times your bet.
For example, if you bet on one of the fields in roulette that pay 3:1 (one of the outer bets), you will normally receive $30 for a bet of $10.
This was really important to know, as a similar rule applies to poker as well. In other words, when you play the game of poker, you’ll want to win more money for hands that are more difficult to win.
For example, if the odds are 3:1 and the pot is not big enough to grant you at least $30, you should think twice about whether proceeding with the hand is a wise thing to do.
A Useful Example Of Poker Odds
So, let’s say that there’s already approximately $90 in the pot after the flop, and what your opponent does is bet an additional $10. At this moment, you calculated that the odds of winning are, say, 4:1. Therefore, you get to decide whether you should also make a $10 bet to see what the river is hiding or give up.
At this point, you only need to do the basic math to see that you should definitely go for a bet. After your opponent bets $10, there would be a total of $100 in the pot. You would have to invest a total of $10 to possibly win $100.
Simply put, you would be rewarded as if the odds were 10:1. To make a comparison, it’s like betting on your favorite team to win with the payment being 10 times bigger, and the odds are 4:1. It’s something you should do without thinking.
Not So Fast
But in poker, these things are a bit different and a bit more complex than that. Even if the odds work in your favor, it still doesn’t mean you have a better hand.
Therefore, you probably wonder at this point — but what happens when you lose a bet?
This is when you have to remind yourself that 4:1 odds mean that you will lose a bet four times for every one time you win it. Therefore, it’s impossible to completely avoid the element of luck in poker betting.
Overall, if you really lose the bet four times and win one, in this case, you would still make money in the long run. The problem is that the element of luck is random, meaning you can either win more than once in every four 4:1 odds hand, or you can lose more than four times in a row.
But the game of poker is not all about odds and outs. It’s about playing cards, reading opponents, and much more than that. In fact, odds are just one of the aspects of playing poker you need to work on if you want to make the best out of it.