Posts Tagged ‘bluffing’

When I began playing poker, I used to be a regular calling station and used to feel pretty depressed when I lost a hand with good hole cards. I called every such hand a bad beat, and it took me a while to realize that I was playing it all wrong. I wasn’t thinking. Poker is a skill game, and it requires a lot of thinking; and outthinking. It usually doesn’t work if you are calling everything that comes your way, and it takes you a while to learn that there is no shame in folding. It is then I learned about poker odds. Robert Border, my friend and colleague, later refined the technique for me and my game improved immensely.

Well, some poker players depend on bluffing their way to victory, while others try to guess what is in your hand. If you want a better strategy in your poker arsenal, you can utilize the power of mathematics to get an upper hand, this is what I learned the smart way. Calculating, counting and thinking about numbers in your head during a high tension game might seem quite daunting, but employing a “poker odds tactic” is actually pretty easy to learn, the only thing is that it may take some time to get used to. There are a number of very complicated formulae available for you to learn and try out, but as long as you comprehend the basic concept of poker pot odds, these techniques would be a lot easier to learn. Here are a few are poker odds tips that I tried to put in layman terms so that it would be pretty easiest to understand. A few minutes of reading them can give you a lifetime of triumphant poker battles, trust me.

Poker odds utilize the odds of winning when you are on a drawing hand. Its main purpose is to aid you in deciding of whether to call or not to call, rather than be a reckless calling station. This technique comes in handy when you are on a straight draw or a flush. Your decision in poker odds will be based on the probability of completing your hand, along with your bet and the pot size. There are two ways to utilize poker odds. The more complex way is the ratio method, while the other simpler way is called the percentage method.

The Ratio Method

For example, consider the situation of getting a flush in a game of Texas Holdem Poker. You have two cards of the same suit in your hand, and you fortunately discover two cards of the same suit on the flop as well. The difficult question is should you call or should you fold to a sizable bet? Books and forums often recommend the ratio method to calculate poker pot odds. So you have two cards of the same suit on your hand, and there are three cards on the flop, two of which have the same suit as your hand as well; what you need to do is to find out how likely it is for you to get a fifth card of the same suit on the turn or the river in order to successfully complete a flush. There are five cards in the table that you know of including your two hand cards, and the three cards on the flop. This leaves you with 47 cards on the deck that you absolutely don’t know anything about. In that deck of 47, 9 cards can complete your flop, while the other 38 will not. If we put that into a ratio: 38:9, or simplified 4:1. This is what you call the card odds. Now, compare the card odds with the pot odds. In order to calculate the pot odds, you should delve into the size of the pot. If your opponent bets $20 into a pot that is worth $80, the pot is now worth $100. If you look into this, it means that you have to call and bet $20 as well in order to win the $100. If you consider that in your calculations, it makes your odds $100:$20, simplified, you get 5:1 as your pot odds.

Now you have 4:1 as card odds, and 5:1 as poker odds. Here comes the trick. You should only call when the pot odds are larger than the card odds. In the long run, this will make you win more money.

The easier poker odds method which is actually a lot more plausible to use in a game is the percentage method. Here are the mechanics of this poker odds strategy.

The Percentage Method

  • You should now use the possibility of a straight draw in order to figure out if you should call or not. If you have a seven or nine in your hand, while the flop has 6, 8, and an ace. This means that you need a 5 or a 10 in order to successfully complete a straight draw.
  • The card odds: There are 4 fives and 4 tens in the deck that could complete our straight, which gives you a total of 8 outs. Outs are cards that can successfully complete your hand. In order to find out our percentage, you need to double the outs and add one. Calculated:
  • Double the outs: 8 x 2 = 16; add one = 17
  • Therefore, you have a 17% chance of successfully completing that straight
  • You should now compare the card odds to the pot odds. Your opponent bets $30 to make the pot $90. In order to win the pot, you have to call $30 as well, which makes you win $120. Always use the final amount when it comes to calculating percentages. Calculated.
  • $30 is twenty-five percent of $120
  • The card odds are 17%; the pot odds are 25 percent

The rule is to never call if the pot odds are greater than the card odds. The percentage of making your hand should always be greater than the poker pot odds. You can employ poker odds on a number of different card combinations, just always be smart about your calculations and you’re home free.