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Pot Odds

Pot odds are the ratio between the amount you have to put to stay in the hand and the total amount currently in the pot. For example, there's a $5 call to you and there’s already $40 in the pot; the pot odds are 40 to 5, or 8 to 1.

Pot odds and drawing odds should come into consideration in your decisions. For instance, if you have a flush draw before the river, you know that you will, in average, hit your flush 1 out of 5 times. With pot odds of 40 to 5, if you were to call and play that hand 5 times you’d win once (+$40 = 1 x $40) and lose four times (-$20 = 4 x -$5), for an average benefit of +$20. So in that case, according to the drawing odds and pot odds you should call.

Generally speaking, you can calculate it in terms of bets: your pot odds in this example were 8 to 1, so if you play the hands 5 times, you'd win once (+8 bets) and lose four times (-4 bets), for an average benefit of +4 bets.

For the same flush draw example, if the pot odds were 15 to 5 (3 to 1), out of five hands you'd win once (+$15) and lose four time (-$20) for an average lost of –$5. So in that case, on a flush draw on the turn, you shouldn’t call the bet with 3 to 1 pot odds.

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