What are ‘Pot Odds’?
The term Pot Odds is most commonly used in the game of poker and refers to the amount of money that a player has to pay to have a chance of winning all of the money which is in the middle of the table (the pot). Pot Odds will sometimes influence a player’s decision regarding whether or not to call a bet from an opponent at the table.
‘Pot Odds’ Explained
Pot Odds are a vital thing in poker, and the best way to explain this part of the game is with an example.
Say a poker hand is coming to an end and all of the cards have been dealt. After the final card is dealt, the player who is first to act might make a rather small bet (such as, for example, 20,000 chips into a pot of 100,000). In this instance, the player with the decision to make will calculate the Pot Odds. Essentially, the player must gamble 20,000 of their chips to win 140,000. This gives very good Pot Odds of 7/1 or, as poker players often say, the player is getting 7/1 on their money. Logic dictates that the player should call, right? Maybe not.
Pot Odds can become even trickier when looking at exactly why someone has made such a small bet. It can often be the case that a player (with a very good hand) will make a small bet to entice their opponent to call and “pay them off”. Simply put, they are using the Pot Odds to send a signal about the quality of their hand.
Conversely, a player may know that their opponent will view a small bet as a sign of strength. In this case, they may make a small bet with no hand at all, hoping that the opponent will think that the Pot Odds are too good to be true (i.e. the first player has an unbeatable hand). This is a good way in which to execute one of the key moves in poker – the bluff.