The most conspicuous way to tell the difference between a pro and an amateur Poker player is that the latter bases his actions on hunch, while the former bases his decisions on whether to draw a hand or not based on the pot odds. You need to learn this too, if you want to establish yourself as a well rounded player.
In its most basic terms, pot odds refer to the risk involve with your bet in relation to the amount of money that is in the pot. Obviously, what you want is to make sure that the money that you will invest in the pot will have a nice return. So, by learning to calculate the odds, you will ascertain whether you can make a nice profit by betting or if it is better off that you fold your hand.
To work the pot odds in Poker you need to know the odds involved in making the hands for the game you are playing. For instance, the following odds are applicable in Texas Holdem.
Hitting a pair on the flop with one of your starting hands, the odds are 3:1 on the flop and the turn and 6:1 on the river. If you hold a pocket pair, you have an 8:1 chance of hitting the set. A flush on the flop has odds of 22:1 and 4:1 on being completed on the river.
Of course, this is just a general guide; the odds for the other hands, as well as these ones, will change depending on a number of factors, such as the way players bet, the number of players in the game, etc.
Assume that you are in the big blind holding pocket 7s. it is not a strong hand, but because a lot of the players before you called, the chance of a set being the top hand is good. Do you go for the draw?
Here is where knowledge of the pot odds in Poker becomes critical. Because you know that the odds of hitting the set on the flop are 8:1, the number of bets in the pot should be at least nine. If that is the case, you have pot odds and you should bet. If you did not know the likelihood of forming the set, then you would not know how to proceed.
When you calculate Poker pot odds, it is important to remember that you should not take into account the wagers made in previous hands, and neither should you subtract the money that you had put in there.
The easiest to learn about using the odds in Poker is to simply play the game. Get a reference chart of the hands for the game you are playing. Learn it by heart, and soon enough, you will be calculating the odds like a pro, leaving the hunches to the amateurs.