Poker remains a popular pastime even in 2021, which so much else vying for our attention. We’re no longer in the glory days (or “Boom years”) of 2003-2011, but with that said poker remains an activity enjoyed by tens of millions of people all over the world, far more than in the “pre-Boom” years. Whether online or in a brick and mortar casino, when people want to get their gamble on or match wits against their fellow players, or even take a crack at winning a progressive jackpot at a poker table game or at video poker, there’s plenty on offer to whet their appetites for a thrill.
As popular as the games have been, what keeps people’s interest piqued is the possibility of winning. After all, if you’d always lose, you’d likely eventually lose your desire to play. The question, then, is what the probability is of one winning, and that’s something that needs to often be calculated using poker math. We’ll delve more deeply into that below.
The probability of winning at any poker game, including online video poker real money USA often depends on the poker odds. These reference what your chances are of making your hand or your opponents making their hand. Being good with mathematics and quickly calculating these poker odds will improve your overall decision making and thus your likelihood of winning each hand.
Therefore, poker odds are the most fundamental probability tool at any punter’s disposal. If you intend to master the (science and) art of playing poker like a pro, you’ll absolutely need to become proficient at calculating pot odds. Keeping those in mind, as well as hand ranges, is what often separates the good players from the hopeless ones.
The importance of calculating poker odds
Back in the day, some of the most season poker players believes that physical tells were all you needed to beat a game of poker. You “played the player” and “put them on a hand”. Your sense of their behaviors and mannerisms was enough for you to possibly deduce what they were holding, if those holdings were strong or weak, and if you needed to fold or if you could successfully bluff them off their hand.
In more modern times, the importance of mathematics to poker has been fully realized. While there’s surely still a component of physical tells to be taken into account, the numbers often tell the story in poker. Those who master the mathematics involved in calculating poker odds tend to fare better in the long run when it comes to beating opponents, saving money, and winning money at the tables.
How poker odds work
It’d be best to note the poker odds ratio between the bet size and the pot size. The ratio rules are equivalent to the standard mathematical equation. While some players are comfortable enough estimating their odds, the best players have perfected their routines such that they can perfectly calculate the odds. A couple percentage points here or there may not seem like such a big deal, but at the poker table the rough vs. exact calculations could add up to lots of money saved/earned.
Practice makes perfect, so be sure to keep at it until you fully hone your own poker odds calculation abilities.
When you can call a bet
The fascinating thing about poker games is their unpredictability. If you ever find yourself at crossroads in a hand with no potential showdown value, you might get tempted to call or raise the bet just so you can possibly steal the pot from your opponents. You’ll soon discover that straight draws and flush draws are the most monotonous draw types you’ll face in poker games. For you to find the best move, you need to calculate how often you hit one of your outs. Thus, you’ll get to know whether you complete the draw or not. Generally speaking, if you’re getting the right odds to call, then you ought to do so, as it’s the mathematically prudent course of action.
While playing online video poker real money USA, it’d be best to master the actual numbers that will allow you to use your poker stats correctly. It’s also crucial as they’ll enable you to make informed choices on the various poker games.
About Marcus HarmonMarcus Harmon is a poker writer and editor of Sunshine Poker Rooms, a poker news and information source. With a decade of experience in the online gaming industry, Marcus has been lucky enough to have met and indeed been beaten by some of the great players. His other passions are soccer and travel.