The Percentage Method

As well as using ratios, pot odds can also be calculated using percentages.

You’re in a pot with 7 of Hearts9 of Clubs – don’t ask us why, it was your decision. The flop has come down 6 of Spades8 of DiamondsAce of Clubs and you’ve found yourself with a nice little up and down straight draw or an ‘open ender’. Your opponent makes a bet of $30 into a pot of $60, so the total pot is now $90.

Just like we did in the Ratio Method, we need to find our Card Odds. To make our straight we are going to need to hit a five or a ten. There are four of each in the deck. That gives us a total of 8 cards that can help us. Cards that can help us improve our hand to secure a win are called ‘outs’. So, in this case, we have 8 outs.

To work out the percentage chance of making our straight, all we need do is double our outs and add one.

  • 8 x 2 = 16
  • 16 + 1 = 17%

We have a 17% chance of hitting our straight.

We then need to take this percentage chance and weigh it up against our Pot Odds.

Our opponent’s $30 bet made the total pot $90. After we make the call, the pot will be $120. In other words, we are calling $30 for a chance to win $120. Basic mathematics says that our $30 call will make up 25% of that $120.

  • So our Card Odds are 17%
  • Our Pot Odds are 25%

Because we know our chances of making our hand on the turn are only 17%, we should only really be calling 17% of the total pot. It should go without saying, then, that 25% is simply too much to pay – this should be an easy fold. Unlike the example used in our article about calculating The Ratio Method, if we continually made this call over time, we would be losing money more often than we won it and not making enough each time we won to cover our previous losses.

You should only be making this sort of call in a situation where the percentage chance of making your hand is greater than the percentage of the pot you are required to call in order to remain in the hand.