I read quite a few articles about pot odds and outs. However, i find it hard to do it on a whim and often do it incorrectly. I've come out with something simple, but it gets slightly off. Is it too wrong?

If i have to pay 5 to earn 20, i have 4:1 pot odds. I just think, i'm paying 20% of the pot, with a chance of 16% to draw an open ended straight.

That's much easier for me, but will it affect my decision making?

  • * correction 4:1 pot odds. I just think, i'm paying 25%!
    – user4664
    Oct 14, 2016 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


The approach you describe is completely fine and in fact it's what most players would do. Nobody really has the time and skill to calculate exact pot odds or probabilities at the table, so what you do is memorize some basic probabilities (such as ~16%, or 1/6 chance to hit open-ended straight on next card) and compare to your pot odds. It can be helpful to know both what your chance to hit an out on the next card is as well as your chance for hitting an out on the next two cards in case you're facing an all-in decision.

After you're done playing a session, it can be helpful to then go over some of the hands that you weren't too sure of at the time and put down some exact numbers and do things like calculate your hand's equity versus various ranges of hands that your opponent(s) may have had. By doing that, you'll get better and better at having an intuitive sense of odds and how to play certain hands.

Edit: On re-reading your question, it seems you're just asking if using percentages rather than x:y odds notation ends up conveying the same thing. The answer is that yes, they give the same result every time. For reference, check out this question.

  • That's exactly it. I couldn't deconstruct the ratio method in my head, but they are in fact the same thing. I cannot even begin to understand why it is so widely used over percentages!
    – user4664
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:45
  • On top of that, here goes
    – user4664
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:46
  • On top of that, here's a link to finding more about the percentage method, as well as supplementary tables for reference!
    – user4664
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:46
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  • @user4664 As to why the odds method is sometimes used over percentages, my hunch is that it may have to do with poker being a game of gambling. Odds are used in conjunction with other types of betting (like horseracing, sports betting), where things are commonly expressed as 1:3 favorite or 8:1 underdog--an easy to way to see that you'd win $8 for every $1 wagered. Oct 14, 2016 at 17:47

You should come to the same conclusion either way.

What ever works for you.

Odds works for me but I studied math. If I have to call $25 to win $100 then I am getting 4:1. Am I a 4:1 dog?

Pre flop you are a wash with pair versus over pair. You are a dog if they have a pair covering your unpaired (e.g. AA versus AK).

Post flop just count your outs. Flop with 8 outs (45-8)/8 = 4.6:1.

The are just not that many spots. You will typically have 4, 5, 8, 9, or 9+ outs. Either methods just memorize those. If you only have 2 outs then basically any bet prices you out.

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