How to Calculate Pot Odds and Equity in Texas Holdem

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Understanding how to calculate pot odds is an absolutely fundamental skill to playing good poker.

Understanding and calculating the pot odds, though, will only get you halfway to where you need to be.

Once you have the odds (and the implied odds), you need to calculate your equity in the pot and then compare the two to see what the correct play is in each situation.

What are Pot Odds?

Pot odds refers to the relationship between the size of the pot and the size of the bet

For example: If there's $10 in the pot and you have to call a $2 bet, then you are getting pot odds of 5-1.

If you have to call a $5 bet in the same $10 pot, you're getting pot odds of 2-1.

pot odds
How big is the pot; how big is the bet?

The Size of the Pot

You should always be aware of pot size. If you're playing Limit poker, you count the number of bets in the pot instead of the amount of money.

When the bets double, as in Hold'em, you count the big bets as two small bets.

If you're playing Pot-Limit or No-Limit it's a little bit harder to count the pot and, as a result, the odds will not be as exact.

Regardless, you still should do it.

How to Use Pot Odds

Once you know your pot odds you must use this information appropriately. You do this by connecting the pot odds to the value of your hand.

This means you are able to put your opponents on likely hands and understand your chances of making a better hand than theirs.

For example, you have a flush draw on the flop in Hold'em and you are up against an opponent who you think has at least top pair.

There are 9 cards (usually referred to as outs) that will give you a flush when you have flopped four cards to a flush.

As you can see in the table below, 9 outs give you a 35% chance (2:1 against) of making the flush on the turn and river combined. 

This means that you need pot odds of at least 2-1 to make a call on the flop profitable.

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Implied Odds

Implied odds are defined as the relationship between the size of the current pot and the pot you are expected to win.

This means that occasionally the pot does not lay the correct odds even when you decide to play because you expect to get further action and win more when you hit your hand.

poker equity
Implied odds changes things.

For example, in Limit Hold'em your opponent bets $20 into an $80 pot and your call gives you pot odds of 5-1 (you're risking $20 to win $100).

But, if you expect your opponent to call a bet or raise on the river if you make your hand, your implied odds are 6-1 or 7-1.

Further Reading:

A Simple Rule of Thumb for Hold'em and Omaha

Every out gives you an approximate 4% chance of hitting on the turn and river combined.

For example, five outs give you about a 20% chance of improving. Six outs = about 24%, etc. 

Outs for Specific Draws in Hold'em and Omaha
Flush draw with two overcards or a straight flush draw 15 outs
Flush draw with one overcard 12 outs
Flush draw 9 outs
Open-ended straight draw 8 outs
Two overcards 6 outs
Gut-shot straight draw 4 outs

Do I Need a Pots Odds Calculator?

If you dropped in on this article looking for a Pot Odds Calculator, there are a few simple ones out there online but the truth is you have all the tools you need to calculate pot odds right in your head.

In fact it's much better for your game long term to learn the quick shortcuts and how to calculate pot odds in your head on the fly; it's not like you can pull out and use a pot odds calculator at the poker table anyway

How to Calculate Poker Equity

Count Your Outs: In order to calculate your equity (your odds of winning the pot), you need to first know how many outs you have to make your hand. This becomes quick and simple with a little practice and a little memorization.

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Remember: There are four cards of every value and 13 of every suit.

If you have an open-ended straight draw there are two different values of cards that will give you your hand:

  • 2*4= 8 outs

If you have a flush draw there are 13 cards of that suit. You hold two of them and two of them are on the board:

  • 13 - 2 - 2 = 9 outs

Remember to remove the outs of cards you know (on the board and in your hand) and to not count outs twice (for example, if you have an open-ended straight flush draw you have 15 outs).

When counting your outs you need to remember the idea of anti-outs (and possibly even blockers). If by making your straight you also complete the flush of your opponent, then those straight cards are not outs to your hand and can't be counted as such.

The possibility of a flush draw on the board can turn a profitable eight-out straight draw into a six-out straight draw, rendering your odds insufficient. More about Anti-Outs and Blockers here.

If you can't make an astute deduction of the value of your opponent's hands, err on the side of caution and always assume that they have the hand most dangerous to your own.

If there's a flush draw, assume they have the draw; if the board is paired, assume they have a full house or, if you're lucky, just trips. It's less expensive to wrongly fold a hand than to wrongly call off your whole stack.

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The Easy Equity Shortcut

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Equity shortcut is indispensable in live action.

The easiest way to get your equity is to remember these two simple rules:

  • On the flop, multiply your outs by four
  • On the turn, multiply your outs by two

This means with an open-ended straight draw (eight outs) you have a 32% chance of making your straight with two cards left to come.

For hands on the flop with a large number of outs (>8), the previous shortcut gives a slightly incorrect answer. There's a simple formula you can remember to get a slightly more accurate figure:

  • (number of outs * 4) - (number of outs - 8) = Equity

This means the equity of an open-ended straight flush draw (15 outs) would be:

  • (15 * 4) - (15 - 8) = 53%

Without this little formula the percentage would be higher by seven points, giving us an artificially large result. If your equity calculations are wrong you can't make informed decisions.

Putting Pot Odds and Equity Together

As you can see, equity and pot odds hang on a bunch of relatively simple calculations. All that they require is some memorization of the formulas and techniques and a little bit of practice calculating them in your head.

For some people this will be much easier than for others but everyone can do it if they spend a small amount of time practicing.

Remember that implied odds change the game of No-Limit Hold'em greatly. In fact, having a very large amount of implied odds can render a call correct even though pot odds would render it absolutely incorrect.

To learn more about implied odds and how they can affect the choices of you and your opponents check out this Implied Odds article here. For another method of calculating your equity in a pot - one you may find easier - you can check out this Equity article.

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Dan Jones 2017-04-05 01:13:23

I want to point out that the formula for determining odds for making a hand by the river,
post-flop, with 8 or more outs can be simplified to 3x + 8, where x in the number of outs. In Sean's example, a 15 outer has 53% equity. 3(15) + 8 = 53.

Edit:
Furthermore, making a hand by the river, post-turn, with 8 or more outs can be simplified to x + 8.

Joshua McCloskey 2016-05-02 11:41:13

You can't consider things you don't know, ever. For example, you are actually 0% if all your outs are folded but the flip side of that coin is you are 100% if every card left makes you winner. On average over the long run you will win as if you had 15 outs because you are that much more likely to have every card make you win than none, or some where between.

kidc11 2016-03-14 15:44:31

The 32% equity with two cards to come on an open end straight, and the 53% in the hand with 15 outs implies you're getting two cards. But you'll most likely have to bet twice. Shoving would avoid this, or being last to act and checking the turn, if possible, then these equity calculations are accurate. For example, if the pot is $100 and you have 15 outs, or 53% as he suggests, a pot sized bet of $100, if called, gives you 2 to 1, right? But you only get one card for that bet, and your equity is 31.9%, not 53%. 53% is for 2 cards, not 1, so you're required to make another bet, so your equity is much lower each bet(than the 53%). On the turn bet, it's 32%. So, for your $100 bet, should he call, you really only have 31.9% of $300, or about $96 for your $100 bet, slightly more with 1 card removed for the turn bet. How to avoid this and get 53%? 1. Shove 2. be last to act and check the turn, if possible.

Fred Wakeen 2016-02-08 15:36:38

When you are playing Omaha with nine or ten players, with ten after the burn and flop
you only have eight cards left. When you have a hand with fifteen outs, how does that
work with only eight cards left in the deck?? Thanks to anyone who can reply.

marty 2012-11-23 14:50:44

pot odds formula??? from "jonthan little" vol 1,page 29, paragraph 2. 42%= 0.42=100/(100+x). what is x??
then you have 42+0.42x=100, so x=58/0.42=138 chips in to make worth your call..?? how would one figure it if there was a bet of 375 or any other then a 100 bet? i think i would multiply 0.58 times the bet or 0.42 times bet ??? algerbra???

Me 2011-09-10 12:22:43

Dear Sean,

Maybe I'm just stupid, but I want to post this question anyway;

To calculate your equity there are multiple ways:
Your shortcut;
(outs/(47-outs))*100;
(outs/47)*100;

All of them give another value of your equity.

As for an example:
Number of outs: 10
-Your method gives us;
(10*4)-10+8=38%
-2nd method I described above gives us;
(10/(47-10))*100=27% (times 2 for T&R = 54%)
-3th method I described above gives us;
(10/47)*100=21% (times 2 for T&R=43%)

Just because yours is a shortcut, I wonder which one it's based on. I figure the 3th one, which would be the one I would use for more accurate odds.

Awaiting your reply,

Me.

D-Block 2010-12-29 01:55:25

Maybe I'm too new at calculating my outs, but I have read two different ways to do it, and both give different ratios.

The first being the one described above.
The second being: If I had 8 outs on the flop. I would take 47-8, then 39/8. Giving me 4.8-1 instead of 2.1-1 described in this article.

Am I just missing a step??

Tian 2010-02-15 12:42:14

Call me stupid, or just new at poker, but I don't understand half the stuff you're talking about....

Sean Lind 2010-02-11 20:32:20

David,

You're absolutely correct. Dwan had about 16% chance of hitting his straight, and about 3% chance of winning by making a running two-pair or trips.

David 2010-02-11 02:54:05

I saw an interesting hand in the Durrrr challenge in which Dwan held 75o to a board of Q36 rainbow to Sammy's QJo.

Durrr's hand was 20% to win - but using this formula I thought he would only be 16% to win with his 4 outs. I'm guessing the extra 4% was for the possibility of a running pair, but the formula does not account for that - care to explain? Just an exception or what?

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