Know the odds and win playing poker. The Odds System explained.
Learn the odds. I wish I could repeat it over and over. A courageous player, hip to the odds system, seldom has to lose.
Take a situation where you have two pair and draw one card. The odds are 12 to 1 against you.
In other words, for every 12 times you have two pair and draw one card, you'll draw a full house just once. Now that's bad news. But it goes for your opponent too. If he has two pair and you guess it by his betting and you have three of a kind, you can feel quite confident. The odds are 11 to 1 against him improving his hand. You can afford to bet optimistically. You know exactly what his chances are and they aren't good.
How wonderful to know and not have to guess. You'll find your whole game will become more confident And it's knowledge and confidence that wins battles of life and poker games.
How about three of a kind. What are the odds you'll improve it You're sitting pretty with three of a kind but your opponent draws one. The odds you know are heavily against him, but if he does fill in what are your chances of improving.
The odds against making a full house are 15 and 1/2 to 1 against you. The odds against getting four of a kind are 22 and ½ to 1 against you. Now you have the knowledge, the ammunition. No guessing. You are sure.
I used to play 5 and 10 poker with the same five sophomore football players every week when I was in high school and I swear they paid for my lunches all the way through school. They'd grumble about my luck week after week but I could have told them the secret of my success with one word: Scarne. He wrote a book on poker and I memorized it. I knew it from cover to cover.
I played the odds system from beginning to end by the book. Today I don't do that anymore. I use less odds, more intellect, but you have to learn the odds system before you can learn all the fine points.
Those boys never did beat me and ten years later when I told them my secret they howled as if they had been taken unfair advantage of. But they had the same chance I did.
If you learn all the odds you will beat most opponents because of one quality found in most all poker players - laziness. The average card player doesn't have the patience or discipline to learn all the odds. If you can force yourself to team the Odds System, you will be a winner.
Knowing poker odds is a vital part of improving as a poker player. In some ways it's even more important when playing online, as you have less time to make decisions - and the more tables you're playing at once it becomes even more so. With time and practice, knowing your odds of poker hands becomes easier. However, you can speed up the learning process by using an online poker odds calculator like the one by Pokersites.com. You can use tools like this to learn when to make the right calls or folds. Invest some time playing around with it and then take your new skills with you when you play for real money.
For instance, have you ever been undecided whether you should or shouldn't draw to an inside straight? The odds are 11 to one against drawing to a middle straight or, for that matter, one end. Again, one time out of twelve you'll fill an inside straight. Of course, in the filling of either end (like filing in a 4-5-6-7) the odds are better than 5 to 1. There's a better chance of filling a flush than a two-end straight. Did you ever guess that? I don't know how many times I have had a hand where I could have drawn for a flush or a straight, and chose the straight because I thought it would be easier. Until I found out the odds, that is. How foolish!
Notice I quote no odds of filling a straight or flush with two cards. The odds are over 200 to 1 and it's a silly draw.
In every poker crowd you'll find one stubborn aggressive player who, no matter how bad his hand, will play every hand. In that case, no matter how well he knows the odds, he's bound to lose. There are just are some hands that are better tossed away.
It is both informative and interesting that a court was asked to decide whether poker was a game of chance or skill. In conclusive findings, it was found that the players with the most knowledge and skill won consistently. But you could never get an unknowledgeable player to admit to it.
Here is a percentage table that should be of help to you: The chance of getting any pair or better on the draw is one in every two deals. Your chances are exactly even. The chances of getting a pair of jacks or better is four to one against you. In other words, with a full deck you will only get jacks or better on the draw once in every five deals A pair of queens or better you will get once in every six deals on the draw. Chances of getting a pair of kings or better are six to one against you. You will get it once in every seven deals. A chance of getting a pair of aces is eight to one against you. You will get it on an average of once in every nine deals.
Obviously, if you wonder why it is easier to get jacks or better than aces or better, the answer is the two words "or better." Jacks or better gives you more opportunity because you could get queens, kings, or aces too.
On the draw the chances of getting two pair or better happens once in 18 times. Chnces of getting three of a kind or better is once in 35 times. Chances of getting a straight or better in the draw is one in 132 times. Chances of getting a flush or better in the draw is 270 times. Chances of getting a full house in the draw is one in 588 times.
Strangely enough the chance of getting a particular specified pair in the draw is about the same as getting three of a kind on the draw.
Whether it's draw poker or stud poker, the Odds System never fails to insure a better chance of winning. In stud, if you know your chances and your opponents' chances, you can play the odds, judge accordingly, and have more winning hands.
As an example, in stud poker if your first three cards contain a pair and you want to know what your chances of improving the pair are, you only need look at the odds. Supposing you have seen 10 cards on the table and none of them match your pair or your odd card. The odds then are only 2 and ½ to 1 against your improving your hand. But if one card that would help your hand shows up in the 10 cards, then the odds are eight to one against your improving; and if two cards which would help show up, just forget it. The odds become insurmountable.
Obviously money management also has a part to play in poker regardless of how well yon know the odds. There are some suggestions that will help your game. Set a limit on how much you can lose. If you hit that limit-stop! Chances are you are playing in bad luck this particular night and you'd be better off at a movie.
Just as in business, if you have a good hand and are confident, bet your bundle. I don't believe in playing it too cozy to suck to other players. If they have a hand, they'll stick with you. "Money begets money" is the rule.
When should you stop when you're winning? I'd say never! I don't believe in taking your profits and running. When you're in a good cycle, see it through. Whether they'd admit it or not, your winnings have given you a psychological advantage and that's very important. Milk it. Both in business or poker, that's how fortunes are made.