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Why are Odds Important in Poker

Why are poker odds so important anyhow? Knowing odds is important because it gives you an idea when you are in a good or bad situation. To illustrate:

Let's say you and a friend are flipping a quarter and he gives you 1:1 odds that the next flip will land on heads. You already know that it will land on heads 50% of the time, and it'll land on tails the rest of the time. In this case, he's giving you an even bet, because nobody has a statistical advantage.

Instead, let's say your friend just won $500 playing poker online and is on a lucky streak. He offers you 2:1 odds that the next coin flip will be heads. Would you take this bet? Hopefully you would, because the chances of heads or tails coming up are still 1:1, while he's paying you at the 2:1 rate. Your friend is hoping to ride his luck a little longer, but if he gambles with you long enough, he'll be losing his shirt with these kinds of odds.

The above example is a simplified version of what goes on in Texas Hold'em all the time. This is summed up in this short principle:

In poker, there are two types of players. The first group are players who take bad odds in hopes of getting lucky. The second group are players who cash in on the good odds that are left by the first group.

Hand Odds and Poker Odds

Hand odds are your chances of making a hand in Texas Hold'em poker. For example: if you hold two hearts and there are two hearts on the flop, your hand odds for making a flush are about 2 to 1. This means that for approximately every 3 times you play this hand, you can expect to hit your flush one of those times. If your hand odds were 3 to 1, then you would expect to hit your hand 1 out of every 4 times.

Odds are given below for hitting a draw by the river with a given number of outs after the flop and turn, and examples of draws with specified numbers of outs are given.

Example: if you hold [22] and the flop does not contain a [2], the odds of hitting a [2] on the turn is 22:1 (4%). If the turn is also not a [2], the odds of hitting it on the river are again 22:1 (4%). However, the combined odds of hitting a [2] on the turn or river is 12:1 (8%). For mathematical reasons, only use combined odds (two card odds) when you are in a possible all-in situation.


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