Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Other Side Of Pot Odds - Part #1 (Intro)

Time for a new series of posts here at Plan3t Gong. Starting with this introduction.

'Pot Odds' may seem mundane, but let me assure you it is not - in fact 'odds' are central to the whole game of poker. What is more there are several ways of looking at this subject. Ways that go far beyond your chances of making that flush by the river!

We have all been in situations similar to this:

After raising a legitimate hand we face a re-raise all-in (late in an MTT or in the mid-section of SNG play for example). With dead money in the pot from limpers / callers and the blinds we can see that we need to call 1000 more chips to win a pot of 1500... do we call with 88? With AJs? How about with KQs?

There are 3 factors key to consider in such situations and the odds we are getting on the investment of 1000 more chips is a critical component in any such decision. In the above example we see pot-odds of 1.5 to 1... would the decision be different at 1.2 to 1 or 1.7 to 1??

Often yes, but the other factors are important too.

- Ranges: What is the range of hands our all-in opponent might hold in this situation?

- The Situation: What is the situation? Would losing cripple us? Are there players still to act? Is this the bubble or just before the final table? What is our table image? and so on....

Of course, moving the same question from MTT play to a SNG makes things a little more complex still. At or approaching the bubble we would need to assess the odds and winning chances in terms of $ equity and not just chip equity.

So, there is the introduction.

The next post will look at pot-odds for calling such bets in comparison to your winning chances against different hand ranges.

After that the situational factors will be looked at in more detail and finally I will introduce some ICM into such decisions to see how this affects your decision making process.

Stay tuned!

GL at those tables, Mark

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