Once you know the size of the pot, the amount you need to risk to stay in the hand, and the number of outs and non-outs that you have, you will now have enough information to figure out whether you have enough pot odds to stay in. Instead of using a complicated algebraic formula that most people can solve only with a pen and a piece of paper or a calculator, I will describe a way to make this calculation in your head with relative ease, which I will call the "Do I have Pot Odds?"method or simply DIPO. The DIPO method is best used directly during the betting on the Turn. Later on, there will be examinations on how to use it during the betting on the Flop.
In this method, we want to compare two numbers which we will call the Good Number and the Bad Number.
The first number is the Good Number, the number of outs times the expected pot size. The second number is Bad Number, the number of non-Outs.
If the Good Number is greater than the Bad Number, then we have enough pot odds to stay in the hand. If the Good Number is less than the Bad Number, then we do not and it would be advisable to fold.
It is easy to see the advantages of using DIPO. You are able to put yourself in a position where you no longer have to guess and size up the pot compared to the strength of your hand. You also do not need to backtrack and count the pot after the fact, which could take your concentration on other factors of the game. If you count the pot size at a later point, you may unknowingly give a tell away by letting other players know you are counting the pot. The observant players may convey your tell into thinking you do not have a made hand and are on a draw, which is valuable information that you do not want to give away. DIPO is easier to implement than counting the pot in terms of dollars and calculating the pot odds relative to the odds you win the hand. The drawback of DIPO is that it takes some discipline and practice. Fortunately, most poker players do not have this discipline to think at the table. If you can use it, you will have one advantage over most of your competition.
Now I will go into detail on the math behind the method. This method is easier for most people to apply than comparing pot odds to the ratio of non-outs to outs because multiplication is easier for most to apply quickly than division. Feel free to skip to the next section if the math bores you. The section after the math section will into further detail about using the DIPO method with examples and in different situations.
I am not a mathematician so this proof may not look like what it should in a mathematics textbook, but it makes sense and is correct. Feel free to skip this section if you do not care about the proof.
EPS = Expected Pot Size (not counting any bets you will put into the pot in the future) Outs = Outs Non-Outs = NOuts
Cards = Outs + NOuts (all the unknown cards to you) Bet = The Bet we are facing
Assumptions: It is on the Turn and there is only one card left to come. Someone has bet and it is up to you to call or fold (lets disregard raising at this point). You are sure that if you hit any of your outs, you will have the winning hand. You are also sure that if you do not hit any of your outs, you will have a losing hand.
The equation for the expected value of calling the bet is: EV of calling = EPS x Outs/Cards - Bet x NOuts/Cards
If this number is positive, then we have a positive expected value of calling the bet and we should. If it is negative, then we have a negative expected value of calling the bet and we should fold.
All of this is fairly simple algebra, but it is still too complicated to do in our heads when we are sitting at the poker table. So instead, we can simplify it even further to a comparison.
We want to compare the term [EPS x Outs/Cards] versus the term [Bet x NOuts/Cards]
When the first term [EPS x Outs/Cards] is greater than the second term [Bet x NOuts/Cards], the answer to the EV of calling equation is positive. Conversely, when the second term is greater than the first term, the answer to the EV of calling equation is negative. We only want to call if the EV of calling is positive, so we only want to call if the first term [EPS x Outs/Cards] is greater than the second term [Bet x NOuts/Cards].
In comparing these terms, we can eliminate the common variable Cards. So we are left with comparing [EPS x Outs] versus [Bet x NOuts]. When there is only one bet to you and you close the action on the Turn (meaning there are no players left to act after your call, thus you cannot be raised), then we know the variable Bet equals 1, and so that is how we get the comparison of EPS x Outs versus NOuts . We do not care how large the difference is between the two terms, all we care about whether the first term is greater than the second term. When there is more than one bet, then instead of comparing the first term to NOuts, it would be correct to compare it to NOuts x the Number of Bets. This is discussed with an example in a later section.
I learned about a method similar to this in an online post by Abdul Jalib. On HoldemBrain.com, links to some of his posts and articles can be found. I put the acronym of DIPO on it so I could refer to it more easily. Both the DIPO method and Abdul's method provide the same answer when the caller is faced with only one bet. When the caller is faced with two bets or more, it is easier to adjust DIPO to make the correct comparison than Abdul's method. In one of Abdul Jalib's online posts, he simplifies the method when the bet that is needed to call is only one bet. He compares the term Outs x (1+Expected Pot Size) to the Number of Unknown Cards. This is useful when there is only one bet because there is no need to use subtraction to adjust for the number of non-outs, and the second term is always constant when the bet size is 1. However, when there are two or more bets, it is more difficult to make the conversion. I prefer comparing the outs and non-outs because it is useful in every circumstance. When there is more than one bet to call, Abdul's formula can be adjusted to the comparison of [Outs x (Number of Bets x Expected Pot Size) / Number of Bets] compared to the Number of Unknown Cards. The computations for the first term in this case is difficult to do at the poker table. So I choose DIPO rather than his method because I believe it is easier in all cases.
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