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Effective odds in Poker

Poker is a game of incomplete information, which makes it difficult to determine odds. But the easiest street to find your feet is moving from the turn to the river. 

You know that there is just one more card ready to leap out of the deck, and only one more chance to bet. 

So, if your chances of completing your draw is 5 to 1 against, and you have to call a $40 lead for the chance to win a pot worth $240, then you know you can make the call because you are getting pot odds of 6 to 1.

However, what about the times in poker tournaments when there are more streets to come and further rounds of betting? It is during times like this that the less skilled players make the mistakes of calculating the incorrect pot odds. 

Omaha poker players have a tendency to calculate their pot odds – say, on the flop – and disregard the possibility of playing both turn and river as well. If they paid due cognisance to this fact, the pot odds would be different. 

It is important to realise that, although your chances of making a great hand improve with more rounds to come, the odds you will receive from the pot will weaken. 

In order to look into the future, you are going to have to try to best estimate what is going to happen on future streets in terms of betting, and correspond this to the likelihood you will hit your hand. 

In a way, it is rather like chess with a bit of math thrown in; this is calculating your effective odds.

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Last Updated 15 November 2013
Effective Odds in Poker