The first thing you have to make sure you fully understand when it comes to poker is the basic math that should drive the vast majority of your decisions in-game. Now, for all of you “I’m not a math guy” folks, I promise it’s not that difficult. In fact, as long as you understand basic division, addition, subtraction and multiplication, you should be good to go!
Now, let’s briefly break down these terms.
Pot Odds simply refers to the ratio between the size of the pot and the bet facing you. Don’t get scared off by the math, it’s pretty simple! As an example, if there is $4 in the pot and your opponent bets $1, you are being asked to pay one-fifth of the pot in order to have a chance of winning it. So, a call of $1 to win $5 represents pot odds of 5:1.
Outs are pretty simple as well and go hand in hand with pot odds. Before you can begin to calculate your odds in a hand, you’ll need to know your “outs.” An out is simply a card which will “make” your hand. As an example, if you are on a flush draw with four spades in your hand, then there will be nine spades (outs) remaining in the deck to give you a flush. Remember there are thirteen cards in a suit, so this is easily worked out; 13 – 4 = 9 outs.
Equity basically means the amount of money that you are currently expected to win, if you played out a million simulations of the current hand. For example, if you have Ah Ad and your opponent has Ks Kc you have 81.2% equity to win the hand. So on average, 81.2% of the pot should come your way. Now of course, poker doesn’t always work like that and variance can play a huge part in your wins and losses. Just remember that the goal of poker isn’t to always win the pot, but rather to put yourself in profitable situations where your equity is higher than your opponent’s.