Outs and Pot Odds

The main reason we want to count the number of outs we have is to relate it to the pot odds. If the number of outs and non-outs are known, then we can compare it to the pot odds to see if we should be staying in the hand. For example, we know we have 10 outs and 30 non-outs, and the pot is 5 big bets. We only need to put in 1 big bet to see the last card, at which point we will know if we are a winner or not. We want to compare the pot odds versus the ratio of non-outs to outs. If the ratio of non-outs to outs is smaller than the pot odds, then it is a positive expectancy play to stay in the hand.

In that example, the pot odds would be 5:1, the ratio of non-outs to outs would be 30:10 or 3:1. Since the pot is offering us greater odds than the chance that we do not hit our hand, it means we have a positive expectancy play to stay in the hand.

These numbers can be compared to percentages as well. With the pot odds of 5:1, it means the winning percentage that is needed for a breakeven decision is 16.7% (1/6). If we have 30 non-outs and 10 outs, then we have a 25% (10/40) chance of hitting an out. Looking at the percentages gives us the same result.

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