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Advanced Drawing and Pot Odds Theory

When playing poker, you will often find yourself on a draw after the flop. To decide how to play your draw, you should consider the pot odds, implied odds, reverse implied odds, and the chance of a redraw.

Pot odds are fairly simple and the Pot Odds Calculator will help you with this. Pot odds means the odds you need to need to justify a call, just based on the money in the pot and assuming you will win if you hit a draw. For example, if you have a flush draw on the flop, you have 9 outs. This means you have a 19.1% chance of hitting a flush on the turn. To justify a call just based on pot odds, you assume you will win if you hit the flush, but will lose otherwise. Therefore, amount you call must be lower than 19.1% of the pot to justify a call.

Think of pot odds in this manner: Suppose you are at a raffle. The raffle is giving away $100 in cash to a lucky winner. You have a 20% chance of winning. How much would you spend to have a 20% chance to win $100? The correct answer is up to $20. Your 'expected' win is $20 (.20 * $100 = $20).

A poker pot is very similar to this raffle. However, your 'ticket' is a bet, and it also becomes part of the prize. If the pot is $100 and you must call $20, you will in fact be winning $120 if you win (the pot plus your bet). Thus, you need at least a 20 out of 120 chance to win (16.7%).

However, the problem with basing your decision solely on pot odds is that it neglects bets in future rounds. It also neglects the chance that you may already have the best hand, and it assumes that the opponent won't draw out against on you. It also does not take into account that you could be drawing dead, meaning that the hand you are trying to hit will still not beat the hand an opponent currently holds.

Implied odds are the odds that take into account future bets. For example, if you have a 19.1% chance of hitting a flush on a turn, you can theoretically afford to call up to 19.1% of the amount of money you would expect to win at the showdown. There is no way to always know exactly how much you will be able to win on future betting rounds; this is something you have to guess on your own.

Reverse implied odds and redraws involve the chance you hit your hand and lose anyway.

Your Hand

You have a 19.1% chance of hitting a flush, but not necessarily that high of a chance of winning. Someone may have or hit a full house. Thus, you have to consider how much you could lose if you hit your flush, but still lose the hand. Another example is if you have a straight draw, but there are two cards of the same suit on the board. Someone else might be on a flush draw. Even if you hit a straight, you may not win because that other player might hit a flush. So just because you have a 31.5% chance of hitting a straight on the turn or the river, it does not mean you have a 31.5% chance of winning. Basically, the idea behind reverse implied odds and redraws is that you do not automatically win once you hit your draw. You must consider the chance that you will lose even if you hit your draw and must guess the amount of money you will lose on future bets if that happens.

The Pot Odds Calculator will tell you the percentage chance of hitting a draw, and the theoretical amount you can call based on pot odds. However, don't just use the calculator to make all of your decisions. It is a helpful tool, but you should also consider implied odds and reverse implied odds. You should also factor in the chance that you may already hold the best hand, and the possibility that you face a raise from behind you.

Next Article: Changing Pace

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