Omaha Poker: Pot Odds

Once you understand hand selection and how to count outs, the next step in your Omaha poker education should be getting to know pot odds. It can seem difficult to get your head around pot odds, but it’s actually fairly simple to understand once it’s broken down. Pot odds are a crucial deciding factor in poker play and are more important in Omaha poker than in any other form of the game.

The term “pot odds” refers to the relationship between the size of the pot and the size of the bet. For example, if there is $20 in the pot and you have to call a $2 bet, then you are getting pot odds of 10-1. If you have to call a $5 bet in the same $10 pot, you are getting pot odds of 2-1.

When you’re playing a hand, you should always be aware of pot size. If you are playing Limit poker, make sure that you count the number of bets in the pot instead of the amount of money. When the bets double, as in Hold’em, you count the big bets as two small bets. If you are playing Pot-Limit or No-Limit, it is a little bit harder to count the pot and, as a result, the odds will not be as exact. Regardless, you must still do it if you want to consistently make good betting decisions.

I’m not going to tell you that there are not pot odds calculators out there, but if you want to become a well-rounded player, you’re going to want to be able to perform the calculations yourself. After all, you can’t pull out your laptop when you’re playing in a live tournament, can you? Once you understand and can evaluate pot odds, you must use this information appropriately. You do this by connecting the pot odds to the value of your hand. Once you can do that and understand how others are betting, you have a window in to your opponents and their likely hands at any given time.

For example, you have a flush draw on the flop in Hold’em and you are up against an opponent who you think has at least top pair. There are nine cards (usually referred to as outs) that will give you a flush when you have flopped a four flush. Nine outs give you a 35% chance (roughly 2-1 against) of making the flush on the turn and river combined. You’d need pot odds of 2-1 at the least to call a bet on that flop.

See? Not that hard. Basically make sure that your pot odds are bigger than the odds of you hitting a winning hand and you’ll end up in the black over time. This can take time to get your head around and I recommend playing a few hands by yourself to get your head around it before you start applying it to your Omaha poker game.