Pot odds are the ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount it costs to stay in the hand. For example, when you bet $10 to contest a $100 pot, your bet is paid off 10:1 if you win. That ratio (the pot odds) should be greater than the odds against winning. For a flush-draw with one card to come, the odds are 4:1 against making the flush. Calling when you are on a flush draw and the pot odds are 10:1 is a good bet. Calling in the same situation when the pot odds are 2:1 is a bad bet. Your odds of winning the hand haven't changed, but the payoff has, and that should determine the decision. Poker is about winning money, not about winning hands.
The tables and graphs that follow provide the statistical data you need to compute the pot odds both before and after the flop. The tables and graphs communicate three main points. The points are:
- Straights and flushes are rare after the flop. Unless there are a large number of players entering the hand, you rarely will have the correct pot odds to play only for a straight or flush.
- Unless you have a 10 or higher in your hand, you rarely will have the best hand after the flop. You are not getting good pot odds to enter a hand with low cards
- The person with the best hand after the flop is a favorite to win. For almost all common drawing situations, odds of improvement on the draw are less than 50%.