A key aspect to advanced strategy in Texas Hold’Em is knowing how to bet or call following the flop. If you have a winning hand or a losing hand the situation is clear but what if there is a fair chance of drawing a winning hand on the turn or river? Rather than trusting to luck there are methods you can use to calculate what you should do next.
Being able to make that calculation will give you a significant edge over other players who are just trying their luck or playing their hands based on statistical tables alone.
Thankfully, the serious mathematical grinding has been done for you and there are some simple formulas you can use:
Your percentage pot odds is 100 times the number of outs divided by the number of unseen cards left. Outs are the number of cards that will help you make up the hand you are aiming for, and the unseen cards are the cards still left in the deck. For example, if you draw two cards of the same suit and the flop gives you another two cards of the same suit then you are now one card short of a flush. So what are the odds that you will draw it and should you call a raise to go to the turn? There are still 9 cards in the pack of the same suit so your odds are 100*(9/47) = 19%.
It is important to note that you shouldn’t take into consideration the cards that have been dealt to other players. Although there is a chance that some of your opponents are holding your out cards since you can’t know that for certain you should ignore the possibility and make your calculations as though all of your outs are in still in the pack.
To calculate your pot odds you divide the amount that you need to call by the total pot plus the call. For instance, if the pot is $90 and you need $10 to call your pot odds are $10/($10+$90) = 10%.
Now you are ready to calculate whether or not you should call or not. The simple rule is that your out percentage should be higher than your pot odds. On the other hand, if your pot odds percentage is higher then let it go.
Using the example above with your flush hand, you should call if because your out percentage at 19% is higher than your pot percentage at 10%. If however, you needed $25 to call, you should fold because you pot percentage would be $25/($25+$90)= 21%.
To calculate your odds following the turn and before the river you use the same formula taking into consideration that there are now only 46 cards left in the pack.
Once you have mastered outs and pot odds you can put the method to great use against your opponents. Rather than just relying on betting on good hands you can now make a reasonable calculation as to how to play the flop and turn.