The concept of pot odds assumes that if you make a bet with favorable pot odds many times, you will win more than you lose in the long run.

Does this logic apply in tournaments when your chip stack is low compared to the bet. For instance, assume you have only 1000 chips, and the bet is 700, but the pot odds are in favor, but with a 30% chance of winning. This doesn't seem to be reason to call since if you lose your 700, you won't be able to win it back again. I would therefore think you should want more than usual pot odds to make this call worth while.

Is there a revised theory of pot odds that takes into account how much money you have in relation to the bet size?

  • This is my question, does anyone know how to link this question to my account?
    – Kenshin
    Nov 21, 2012 at 7:13

3 Answers 3


There are many elements of information that are vital to know here. Some of them are,

  • Is the call (T$700) the only chip amount you'll have to commit to call?
  • Are any players All-In?
  • Do you need to consider money from the blinds that is in the pot already?
  • Is there a chance that you or your opponent will fold on later streets? and more...

Technically, if the cost of a call compared to the current pot doesn't offer favourable odds, in this case you assume equity of 2.33:1 (or 30%), then the Pot-Odds aren't in your favour. The example you give, and the statement "but the pot odds are in favor,...", don't make logical sense. The call amount and the pot total are inextricably linked to Pot-Odds.

Using the example again, the pot would have to total T$1631 or more for a call of T$700 to be correct, if you knew your equity was 30%. Importantly, depending on what you think your equity is determines if the explicit Pot-Odds are correct. You're right to assume that a call in this scenario is a bad decision.

Also, there is no need for a revised theory as the original calculation of pot odds accounts for what you're talking about already. Check out this question on pot odds, and this question on Implied odds to get a better understanding.

Good luck. :)

  • 1
    Also, calling 700 chips when you have a stack of 1000 chips basically means that you're ready to go all-in. You can't just call 700 out of 1000 and then fold on a later street. Sep 17, 2012 at 6:57
  • The size of the pot wasn't mentioned in the question, so how can you say that the correct play is to fold?
    – Kenshin
    Dec 19, 2012 at 3:09
  • @Chris I made some assumptions about the pot size, given the limited information that was provided. I noted that in the first of the points I stated, T$700 being the only amount offered. With this info, the situation is unsolvable so I used the answer to look at the concept of pot-odds rather than the situation.
    – Toby Booth
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:07
  • I see. I agree my question was a bit unclear. Basically I was trying to assume pot odds were favourable, so I should have said that there like 9 players all calling the 700 after the flop, and you have calculated a 30% chance of getting the nuts based on the flop. So Pot = 6300, but it costs only 700 to call, with a 30% chance of winning. Now in a cash game this is definitely a call, but in a tourny maybe you don't want to risk your whole stack on a 30% shot.
    – Kenshin
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:13
  • 1
    Since asking however I discovered independent chip modelling, which I think is the best theory that explains these decisions.
    – Kenshin
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:14

In tournaments, there are often factors that trump pot odds or implied odds when making decisions. Your stack size (and the comparative positions you'll be left in if you call-and-lose vs call-and-win vs fold) is often first and foremost in that list. In no particular order, other factors include table dynamics (e.g. are you going to have opportunities to make chips through low-risk plays), stack sizes of others around you, the amount of time before the blinds rise, and finally ICM.

ICM or the Independent Chip Model, is the probably the closest thing possible to answering your question. Instead of looking straight at the odds, ICM will factor in the value of the chips and how much impact they are likely to have on your ability to make actual money in the tournament. Rarely do the two line up; often chips are more important than odds would dictate when you are short-stacked, and less important when you are a big stack.


Many times it is fold or all in with low stack. In this case an all in would double up. I'm assuming your stack is small relative to the BB. Sometimes you have to take a chance if you don't want to die by the blinds. If pot odds were in my favor and I had a small stack (<15 BB) I would go all in.

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