The Easiest Way to Understand Math in Poker

I read many poker books. To me, if I can learn just one concept from a poker book, I feel the investment is good.

I have been reading Swayne’s Advanced Degree in Hold’em and he has an excellent section on poker math. I think it may be the best I’ve ever seen. This is a concise summary to make things even easier.

1. Probabilities

Let’s start with probabilities. In poker, if the odds are 14 to 4, they are shown as 14: 4. The left side of 14: 4, 14, means how many times something won’t happen and you compare it to the right side, 4, the which means how often something will happen. Put another way, for every 18 events (14 + 4), this will not happen 14 times and will happen 4 times.

Key: The left side is how often something doesn’t happen qq online: the right side is how often something happens.

Odds 14 through 4 and will be simplified by dividing the number on the right side, 4, on the number on the left side, 14. So 14 divided by 4 is 3.5. Therefore, the odds 14 to 4 are equal to 3.5 to 1 or 3 1/2 to 1.

2. An Example of Poker Odds

Let’s say you have two clubs in hand and the flop has two clubs. What are the chances of you getting another club on the turn?

Simply, it is “how many times you will not get a club: how many times you will get a club”.

Since there are 3 cards on board and 2 in our hand, the number of cards we do not know is 47. The number of cards that will help are the 12 club cards subtracted from the four clubs we know, or 9.

So there are 38 cards that do not help: 9 cards that help. Or 38: 9. Simply put, 38 divided by 9 is 4.2 to 1. The chances of you getting another club on the turn are 4.2 to 1.

3. Probability

The odds are expressed as a percentage. Converting pot odds into odds is simple.

If the odds are 3: 1, it means that for every 4 events, it will happen once. 1 divided by 4 is.25.

0.25 is the same as 25%. So now you know that if the odds are 3: 1, that means the odds are 25%.

Now that you understand the odds and probabilities, let’s go over the pot odds and how to use them.

4. Pot Odds

Pot odds are the $ odds the pot is offering. The $ odds the pot is offering is the amount of money in the pot compared to the amount of money you must pay to stay on hand.


There is $ 50 in the pot and you must bet $ 10 to participate. The pot is offering $ 50 for your $ 10 bet or, to put it another way, you are risking $ 10 to win $ 50.

In poker odds, that means $ 50: $ 10 or 50:10 or 5: 1. So the pot is offering 5: 1.

5. Using Pot Odds

To help you decide whether to stay or fold after the flop, you want to know the odds the pot is offering compared to the odds of making your hand.

Key: If your pot odds are higher than your chances of winning, you stay in the hand.

Another way of saying this: If the pot offers more than your chances (assuming you win when you make your hand), you remain in the hand.


Previously, we figured out the odds of catching the flush card on the turn as 4.2-1. If the pot offers $ 50 for its $ 10, then the pot will offer 5-1 odds. As the pot odds are more than the odds of hitting your flush, you stay in the hand.

If there was only $ 30 in the pot and you had to bet $ 10 to stay in the hand, you would only be getting 3: 1. Since the pot offers less than your chances, you fold.

This makes it easy to understand when you are getting favorable odds to call and when you are not getting favorable odds. You want the pot to give you better odds than the chances of making your hand to make a favorable call.

Another concept in poker is the expected value or EV. Let’s see how this works.

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