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View Full Version : Confused about Odds in Holdem

Dave H.
11-16-2004, 08:54 PM
Initially, with a four flush on the flop, I thought I needed pot odds of about 4:1 to call the next bet. I know that my odds of hitting the fifth flush card WITH TWO CARDS TO COME are about 2:1 so I don't understand whether I need 2 bets in the pot or 4 bets in the pot to make the call on the flop and on the turn or if they change with each round.

1.Do I only need 2 bets in the pot BECAUSE I KNOW I AM GOING TO SEE BOTH CARDS, i.e. I am going to the river for sure?

2. What if I miss on the turn? Do I continue to need only 2 bets in the pot or do I now need 4 bets in the pot to continue?

2nd example: I have a pocket pair with no cards on the board yet. My odds of improving my hand are 4:1 by the river.

3. Do I need at least 4 bets in the pot to call before the flop AND on the turn AND on the river? Or do the number of bets I need change after the flop and the turn and the river?

deacsoft
11-16-2004, 10:41 PM
Read Theory of Poker (TOP) by Sklansky.

Dave H.
11-16-2004, 11:40 PM
That's why I'm posting. I've read it and I'm confused. Any way to answer my question?

Appreciate it...

dellcosta
11-17-2004, 03:11 AM
[ QUOTE ]
1.Do I only need 2 bets in the pot BECAUSE I KNOW I AM GOING TO SEE BOTH CARDS, i.e. I am going to the river for sure?

[/ QUOTE ]

Think of it this way. You have a 25% chance of finding your card on the turn, and 25% of hitting it on the river. 25%+25%=50%. Assuming you are committed to betting to the river, you have a 50% chance of completing your flush -- which is actually 1-1 odds, not 2-1. If you're holding Axs and shooting for a nut flush, all you really need is slightly more than one bet in the pot to break even. Your percentage chance (1/2) is not the same as odds.... spend some time studying that.

[ QUOTE ]
2. What if I miss on the turn? Do I continue to need only 2 bets in the pot or do I now need 4 bets in the pot to continue?

[/ QUOTE ]

No. If you miss the turn, your percentage of completing your flush is now just 25%. Your odds are 3-1. If you're betting for nut flush with Axs, you need at least 3 bets in the pot.

You definitely should pick up a couple of books on probability and odds before hitting the tables -- or, better yet, come on over to my table and I'll teach you the hard way. ;-)

In addition to Sklansky, browse the Math shelf in your local bookstore. Seriously, it's worth the time. It will improve your game and you'll find other uses for understanding probabilities and odds as well. It's fun stuff.

Best of luck.

gaming_mouse
11-17-2004, 04:26 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Think of it this way. You have a 25% chance of finding your card on the turn, and 25% of hitting it on the river. 25%+25%=50%.

[/ QUOTE ]

Please do not answers probability questions if you do not understand basic probability. The chance of of hitting at least one flush card by the river is calculated as follows:

1 - (38/47)*(37/46)=.3498, about 35%, NOT 50%

gm

gaming_mouse
11-17-2004, 04:40 AM
I have a pocket pair with no cards on the board yet. My odds of improving my hand are 4:1 by the river.

You're thinking about this wrong. It is almost NEVER correct to see the river with a low pocket pair whose only value comes from the possibility of spiking a set, assuming you have missed your set on the flop.

You are about a 7.5 : 1 dog to spike your set on the flop. However, that does not mean you need 7.5 : 1 pot odds preflop. In an agressive game, even if only 4 or 5 opponents see the flop (giving only 4:1 pot odds), you will have correct implied odds, because you can count on lots of action postflop when you spike your set.

Nonetheless, your strategy is ALMOST ALWAYS to give it up if you miss on the flop. The reason is that you have only 2 outs. So your chance of hitting your set on the turn is only 2/47; same goes for the river. You will almost NEVER have correct pot (or implied) odds to make these calls correct.

HTH,
gm

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 10:50 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Nonetheless, your strategy is ALMOST ALWAYS to give it up if you miss on the flop. The reason is that you have only 2 outs. So your chance of hitting your set on the turn is only 2/47; same goes for the river. You will almost NEVER have correct pot (or implied) odds to make these calls correct.

[/ QUOTE ]

I told him the same thing about the set question. One of my main points was that flush draws and draws to sets are apples and oranges. Flush draws will almost always be good when you hit them, and you can't say the same thing about sets. Added on to that, is the fact that most of your opportunity to spike a set is gone after the flop misses you. I do not believe in no fold'em holde'em. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 10:53 AM
Think of it this way. You have a 25% chance of finding your card on the turn, and 25% of hitting it on the river. 25%+25%=50%

[ QUOTE ]
Please do not answers probability questions if you do not understand basic probability.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, please do not confuse Dave any further. That's all he needs is to start thinking of it as 50%. /images/graemlins/mad.gif

dellcosta
11-17-2004, 11:35 AM
With all due respect, gamingmouse, your calculations are great, but consider the point in learning of the questioner. He's thinking "There are 13 cards in a suit and 52 cards in a deck, so I've got 25% chance of drawing a suit, right?" I was illustrating the probability in basic terms, beginning with independent events, without throwing the book at him.

That said, Dave H., gamingmouse is correct and here's why. The seemingly simple 25% probability of drawing one of your suits on each turn is affected by the fact that cards have been dealt and you can already see 4 of the suited cards. You know there are 13 suit cards. You're holding 2 of them, and you see 2 on the board, so there are 9 left unseen. Also, you know there are 52 cards in a deck, and you're looking at 5 of them, leaving a total of 47 unseen cards after the flop. Get it so far?

Ok, step back for a few minutes from gamingmouse's equation. If you need just one of the 9 cards out of the 47 unseen cards in the deck, then the probability of drawing one of them on the turn is:

9/47 = 19.1% (not 13/52 = 25%)

If you miss on the turn, there are still 9 of your cards out there, but there's only 46 cards left unseen at this point. So the probability of catching on of your cards on the river is:

9/46 = 19.6%

Following the basic (key word "basic") arithmetic, the probability of drawing one of your cards would be 38.7%. But as gamingmouse alluded with the equation he offered up, there's slightly more to it. It would probably help you to study his equation until the lightbulb goes on.

How's that gamingmouse and AngryCola? Better?

deacsoft
11-17-2004, 11:54 AM
If you'd like a Lou Krieger article to help you with pot odds try this link out. A well written and very easy to understand article that is complete with charts.

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker_magazine/archives/?a_id=13913

dellcosta
11-17-2004, 11:55 AM
You only need 2 bets to run with it after the flop assuming you're going all the way to the river. If you miss it on the turn, you need 4 bets in the pot on the river. But that's probably a moot point by the time you get to the river. There should already be that much in the pot already if there was any action at all prior to the river. If you're drawing for a flush, go all the way.

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 11:56 AM
[ QUOTE ]
You only need 2 bets to run with it after the flop assuming you're going all the way to the river. If you miss it on the turn, you need 4 bets in the pot on the river.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is still wrong, see the other thread for the reasons why. Start reading at the post entitled "Some numbers to chew on". It amazes me that there is so much confusion about effective odds, and 2 cards to come probabilities. /images/graemlins/spade.gif

Dave H.
11-17-2004, 12:04 PM
This one brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard! Thank goodness I'm not THAT confused!

deacsoft
11-17-2004, 12:29 PM

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 12:31 PM
Deac, he has read the effective odds section of TOP numerous times, and he knows the odds and all of that. It's just a mental block, an inability to seperate the difference between effective odds, and immediate pot odds, clearly.

I hope that link explains it better than Sklansky, or myself. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

Dave H.
11-17-2004, 12:55 PM
Deac,

Thank you...I had read that article. AngryCola is correct...I understand pot odds. It's effective odds that are giving me a headache. Thanks again.

Dave H.
11-17-2004, 12:58 PM
As I thought...got it...thanks.

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 12:58 PM
Hey Dave, have you read my posts in the other thread? I think you will find them useful. I tried to send you a PM, informing you of my posts, but Im not sure if you use PMs.

dellcosta
11-17-2004, 01:18 PM
Ayayay. We're agreeing with each other. I read your other posts (Some numbers to chew on) and the article. All good stuff. My apologies to Dave if I insulted your intelligence. Onward and upward. Good luck.

Dave H.
11-17-2004, 01:44 PM
It probably goes without saying but I still want to say that you have been very patient with me and have gone WAY out of your way to insure that I get the correct information and I thank you very much for that. I'm also certain that, given the obvious confusion about this issue, there are many others who will benefit from reading the thread, and especially your notes (AngryCola) and gm's notes (I know there are others but yours stand out). I really did assume that there were lots of folks out there who didn't understand this issue and it's obvious that my assumption is correct. Your posts cleared up that confusion for many others and it was your patience and persistence that did it.

My understanding of this concept now is as follows:

I can use probabilities to determine that I have 1.9:1 odds of making the flush BY THE RIVER assuming I have a four flush on the flop. However, to determine whether or not the effective odds are being satisfied, I have to take into consideration what the pot now holds plus any additional monies contributed by players OTHER THAN MYSELF and then divide that by any money that I estimate that I will have to contribute (including the current bet/call that I would have to make to stay in). If that quotient is greater than 1.9, I can stay to the end and basically do not have to reevaluate (assuming, of course, that my assumptions were correct about future monies). Effective odds are useful for deciding whether or not to stay to the end and are rather meaningless for a single card. For a single card, pot odds would be more useful.

It seems that in many cases, pot odds would be the way to go, because many times you’re only trying to decide whether to stay for the turn card. Fair statement?

Finally, a player COULD use only pot odds if he/she chose. In the 4 flush example on the flop, I could use the 4:1 pot odds (roughly) to see the turn card and 4:1 (roughly) to see the river if I missed on the turn. The problem with this is that I could be missing out on some profit opportunities if I chose this method and KNEW that I was going to the river.

Sound like I have it? I sure feel like I do. Did you see any mistakes in what I just stated?

Question: Seems like you would be doing a lot of estimating if you were using effective odds and there were multiple players. Are effective odds useful in that type of situation, given that your estimates could get blown away?

Related Question: What do you do when your assumptions (using effective odds) get blown away by raises, folds, etc.? Do you simply revert to pot odds at that point?

P.S. Was almost GLAD to hear that effective odds were a point of confusion for you initially! And, yes, I read your PM's. Just so much to read this morning I just now finished!

AngryCola
11-17-2004, 01:56 PM
Dave...
THANK GOD!

You have finally gotten it.

[ QUOTE ]
It seems that in many cases, pot odds would be the way to go, because many times you’re only trying to decide whether to stay for the turn card. Fair statement?

[/ QUOTE ]

That is a fair statement about certain draws, yes.

[ QUOTE ]
Question: Seems like you would be doing a lot of estimating if you were using effective odds and there were multiple players. Are effective odds useful in that type of situation, given that your estimates could get blown away?

Related Question: What do you do when your assumptions (using effective odds) get blown away by raises, folds, etc.? Do you simply revert to pot odds at that point?

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, that does happen sometimes. In these cases, when you are stuck in the middle between a rock and a hard place, just go ahead and use the immediate pot odds. You are also right about multiway pots causing more difficulty in determining effective odds.
This is the reason lots of people do not bother with effective odds, because they can get caught up in situations they weren't planning for. My assertion has always been that you will have a good idea of the action on the turn, MOST of the time. Or else, free card plays and similar strategies would be useless.

But.. no matter, because now that you understand the issue you can choose which way you want to do things in individual situations. Your newfound understanding of the concept will allow you to adapt to numerous situations.

Remember Lorinda's post in the beginners forum? Now that you understand this topic, go back and read it. You'll now understand, more than ever, what she meant about mixing different ideas for different situations, and getting a "feel" for it.

I'm very happy that little light in your head has been clicked. I hope this newfound knowledge serves you well. Good luck. /images/graemlins/spade.gif

Dave H.
11-17-2004, 02:33 PM
I almost finished my response and my computer crashed! Grrr!

Point 1: Yes, I remember what Lorinda said very well. At the time, I was exasperated and envious at the same time. Now that I understand, I will write on the board 1,000 times...
It depends...
It depends...
It depends...
...

Point 2: I think the reason that I (and others) could have a mental block about this may have something to do with how tough it might be to use effective odds depending on the level you play at. I am a beginner and play at microlimits where normally many players see the flop (and turn for that matter). Trying to estimate given that many players seems a daunting task indeed and, even if you understand the concept, it's very likely that you think "Right, I'm sure I'll be able to do THAT!" and you just sort of toss the idea aside. I can imagine that this would be much more useful at higher levels where you presumably would have fewer players seeing the flop and turn. Just a thought.

Point 3: I have no idea what level you play at, but my guess is that it will take me a while to get there. If I ever do, I hope to be your opponent and wind up in a showdown with you. If and when I do, win or lose, I'm going straight to the chatbox and I'm going to type: "Now why on earth did you play those cards? Your effective odds SUCKED"...