Pot Odds

MDellie86MDellie86 Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
Hey everyone! I joined core and I'm going over the level 1 maths sub-course. For whatever reason I'm not grasping how to calculate pot odds at the table so quickly. I've been training by watching live poker videos on YouTube and trying to figure out the pot odds but I just don't feel like I'm that accurate. Should I be rounding the total pot size to an easy to calculate number? I could be totally overthinking this but what if the pot isn't exactly 2/3 or 1/2. Thanks in advance!


  • BFSkinnerBFSkinner Red Chipper Posts: 153 ✭✭
    Close enough is likely fine. If you are playing live 1-2, rounding the pot to the nearest 5 denomination (33 in pot, round to 35) won't put you too far off of the actual pot size or make a huge difference in your calculations.

    It may also help to think of the pot in terms of big blinds instead of raw dollar amounts. If I bet 10 into a 22 pot in a 1/2 game, you can think of it as a bet of 5bb into an 11bb pot. Simplifying your fractions makes calculating pot odds easier.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For low stakes, it will be an approximation good enough. You don't need to be so thin in your action that rounding a fraction would me relevant.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 5,440 -
    I pointed out in the CORE comments section that, to a large extent, how precise you need to be in your estimate depends on what you're using the number for. Since that might be a bit opaque, let me illustrate what I was getting at more explicitly.

    You're playing relatively shallow. On the flop the pot is $117 and your opponent bets their final $43. You have them covered. You have [to be announced] and notice immediately that, however you calculate your required equity to call here (either using pot odds or through your contribution to the pot), this is going to be a lot simpler if you assume a $120 pot and a $40 bet.

    If we round the numbers like that, we're going to be calling $40 in a final pot of $200. $40/$200 = 1/5, so we need 20% equity.

    Couple of points.

    1. It's always helpful to recognize "which side" of the equity calculation your rounding puts you on. Our actual contribution here is 43/(117 + 43 + 43) = 21%. How you "see" that your estimate shades low in this case (or that, because you're rounding up and down it's going to be decently close) simply reflects how you do mental arithmetic. If you're not good at mental arithmetic, it's your responsibility to find tricks to short-cut this kind of stuff. Google is your friend.

    2. There will be situations where a crude rounding like this will throw the answer off by a lot more than 1%. Simply doing a bunch of approximations via rounding, then calculating the true figure is useful in getting a feel for it. But. In many cases, you can avoid all this simply by understanding why you are calculating this number, and the situation that you're in.

    For example, in the scenario described above, if you have the nut flush draw you shouldn't need to calculate anything other than recognizing the bet is small relative to the pot. It's small enough it should tell you that you should call, without any faffing about with rounding or odds or anything else.
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  • MDellie86MDellie86 Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    @BFSkinner That seems like a very easy shortcut when thinking in terms of big blinds, thanks! I do feel like it would be different though at a 1/3 table or a tournament. I guess I'm just going to have to practice

    @TheGameKat So I don't want to come off sounding ungrateful because I know you're trying to help me but after reading that last comment I think I'm even more lost and my brain is starting to hurt a little bit. I need you to talk to me like I'm 5 lol.

    Would anybody be interested doing a zoom call?
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 5,440 -
    I'll happily talk to you like you're relatively new to poker.

    You want to calculate pot odds. You only do that if you need the answer for something. What you need the answer for dictates the accuracy to which you need to calculate the number.
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