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# 6.5 Calling With Pot Odds

Pot odds is an important concept that differentiates poker from many other games, and contributes to its usefulness as a testbed for concepts in the real world. Pot odds is the comparison of your winning chances to the expected return from the pot. For example, if there is only a 20% chance that Loki has the best hand on the river, should we fold, call or bet? Assume the pot contains $20 after the only opponent bets$4. Calling in this situation will lose 4 times out of 5, at a cost of $4 each time. However, we win 1 time out of 5 for a profit of$20. Therefore, under these assumptions, a call is better than a fold, resulting in an average profit of $0.80 per hand. However, if the pot only contained$12, we should fold, since calling would yield an average loss of \$0.80 per hand.

On the flop and turn the calling decision is based on a slightly different concept. If PPOT = 0.20 then there is a 20% chance that the next card will give Loki a very strong hand. It does not necessarily win the hand, but for the sake of pot odds, we consider this to be the chance that Loki will clinch the hand with the next card (the current pot is our winnings). This is a basic decision and does not take into account other nuances such as the fact that the other 80% of the time Loki may still have a reasonable chance of winning.

To make this calling decision we verify that the pot odds justify paying to receive one more card (or to play the showdown when we are on the river). We call when (or on the river), where

 (6.6)

Next: 6.6 Calling With Showdown Up: 6. Betting Strategy Previous: 6.4 Semi-Bluffing   Contents
Denis Papp
1998-11-30