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Poker is one of those games which many people will have tried and enjoyed, but may not understand completely. It is a game of real skill, and true poker players will spend time studying the different hands and learn how to quickly calculate the odds in order to assess their chance of winning a hand.

When playing, a player will have to decide whether to call or fold. One way of making this decision is to check the sum of money held in the pot, divide it by your own ‘pot odds’ and see if this is equal to, or is more than the odds of getting the cards needed to win (hand odds). Being able to calculate the pot odds quickly can be an essential skill. This will allow the poker player to ensure that they bet only if they have a good chance of it working out in their favor.

Check the pot for the amount of money. If there is a sum of money already in the pot, such as $4 and the bet amount is $1, then the pot odds work out to be 5:1. This is a fixed calculation, although you can take into consideration if there are others in the game that have not yet made the same decision. These are implied odds.

In order to determine the hand odds, the number of cards that are unseen needs to be divided by the number of ‘outs’ available to the player. Then 1 needs to be subtracted. The phrase ‘outs’ applies to the cards that are remaining which will help the player to make up a winning hand; one example is if there are two hearts in the hand dealt out. If there are two more that fall on the flop, this leaves a total of 47 unseen cards and 9 further hearts (outs) in the deck that could give a potential flush. 47 needs to be divided by 9 which gives 5.2, then a further one from this leaves 4.2, so in order for the player to call a bet there should be at least 4.2 already in the pot.

In order to determine the chances of getting one of the remaining ‘outs’ you need to multiply the number remaining by 4. In the example already mentioned there are 9 potential outs, so this multiplied by 4 is 36, so there is a 36% chance of getting one of the outs. When the turn happens the number of outs available needs to be multiplied by 2. If there are still 9 remaining outs then this gives a percentage of 18, so the bet would need to be 20% or less of the pot.

One of the best ways for a beginner to get used to this system is to practice online. Taking advantage of benefits such as Party Poker bonus codes can give the player plenty to work with while they are getting used to the different types of poker, the different rules and assessing each hand that they are dealt.

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