Pot Odds Question

    • Navrark
      Navrark
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.01.2010 Posts: 313
      Greetings,

      Okay so I haven't played Poker in 2 years and now I'm finding that I have to relearn everything. I'm 36 so these things don't click in the brain like they would have 18 years ago. Anyhoo...

      In the BSS strategy article on Pot Odds, the following example is given:

      The size of the pot before the bet: $10
      The amount bet: $2
      Your possible winnings: $12
      The amount you must wager to stay in the hand: $2

      The odds of making a straight are 5:1 against you.

      Should you win the hand, you stand to gain $12. In five out of six cases, however, you will lose $2, assuming you are forced to give up your hand after the turn. By calling the $2 raise, you will lose $10 and win $12 on average every six times this situation occurs. Your total profit, made up of winnings : loses, would be $12 : $10, or $2 in this case.


      So here is my question. Why would I only want to call if I can make a $2 profit? Shouldn't I want to make the call if it means I break even? After all, if I fold then I lose everything already invested in the hand. That's why when I see the odds listed as 5:1 I always mentally translate that to mean the pot needs to be 5x larger than the bet I need to call. Because if it's 5x larger I will break even on the call. If it's 6x larger or 5:1 I will make a profit.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Thanks
  • 2 replies
    • TinoLaan
      TinoLaan
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,411
      Hey Navrark,

      The problem is that you're talking about the money you have invested already. Money invested doesn't count anymore. Once you've put it in the pot, it's gone. As such, the EV of folding is always going to be $0. So if a call would make for break even EV, i.e. an EV of $0, there is no difference between calling and folding.

      Of course the article on pot odds is extremely basic. On the flop, you will hardly ever be getting the exact odds or better to make the call with a draw. The thing is, there's two cards to come when you're on the flop, and you might have position or some read on your opponent.

      Assume a simple example where you and your opponent both have 100bb. Your opponent raises from the CO and you call from the BU. On the flop you have a flush draw. Now your opponent bets 3/4 pot. This could easily be just a standard cbet, so you pretty much can't fold here... There's multiple things that can happen then on the turn.

      1) You make your flush and are the happiest man on earth. (you can call flop because of implied odds)
      2) You don't make your flush and your opponent bets, in which case you can probably fold.
      3) You don't make your flush and your opponent checks, in which case you can either check behind to get a free card and hit the flush anyway, or you can bet and likely take down the pot with a (semi)bluff.

      So as you can see, even though you're not getting the exact odds to call, there's plenty other ways to take down the pot. It's going to happen very rarely that you're getting the right odds to call. The article you mention is mostly for absolute beginners to get them started in the field of poker math.

      Hopefully this has helped you a bit! If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask, there's plenty people out here willing to help :)

      Kind regards,
      Tino
    • Navrark
      Navrark
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.01.2010 Posts: 313
      Originally posted by TinoLaan
      Hey Navrark,

      The problem is that you're talking about the money you have invested already. Money invested doesn't count anymore. Once you've put it in the pot, it's gone. As such, the EV of folding is always going to be $0. So if a call would make for break even EV, i.e. an EV of $0, there is no difference between calling and folding.
      That blows my mind, that people consider the money already in the pot as equal to a fold. I mean, I understand that it no longer affects the math later in the hand. But mentally speaking it sounds better to me to still have a chance to win the pot rather than no chance at all.



      Of course the article on pot odds is extremely basic. On the flop, you will hardly ever be getting the exact odds or better to make the call with a draw. The thing is, there's two cards to come when you're on the flop, and you might have position or some read on your opponent.

      Assume a simple example where you and your opponent both have 100bb. Your opponent raises from the CO and you call from the BU. On the flop you have a flush draw. Now your opponent bets 3/4 pot. This could easily be just a standard cbet, so you pretty much can't fold here... There's multiple things that can happen then on the turn.

      1) You make your flush and are the happiest man on earth. (you can call flop because of implied odds)
      2) You don't make your flush and your opponent bets, in which case you can probably fold.
      3) You don't make your flush and your opponent checks, in which case you can either check behind to get a free card and hit the flush anyway, or you can bet and likely take down the pot with a (semi)bluff.

      So as you can see, even though you're not getting the exact odds to call, there's plenty other ways to take down the pot. It's going to happen very rarely that you're getting the right odds to call. The article you mention is mostly for absolute beginners to get them started in the field of poker math.

      Hopefully this has helped you a bit! If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask, there's plenty people out here willing to help :)

      Kind regards,
      Tino
      I remember back in 2011 I was confused by how you folks designed the Pot Odds chart. I couldn't figure out why you had odds for "Flop to Turn" and "Flop to River." Anywhere else I've seen online they do things differently: "Flop to River" and "Turn to River."

      But this time around, I now realize why PS designed the chart they way they did. It's actually far superior. I can initially consider the odds for "Flop to Turn" and if my opponent(s) does not bet the Turn, I can then change my interpretation to "Flop to River." The way PS has designed it causes people to keep the Implied Odds in mind every step of the way.

      By doing things the other way, "Flop to River," etc., the Implied Odds are mostly assumed and therefore less accurate.