How Poker Odds Calculators Work
Do you use a poker odds calculator?
I sure hope so. Poker odds calculators are a CRUCIAL part of winning money at online poker. Here are a just a few ways an odds calculator can quickly and easily improve your game:
Understand Your Starting Hand Strength
The biggest mistake made by most card players is playing too many hands. For example, tell me if this thought has ever crossed your mind…
“It’s worth calling the flop even though I have bad cards– because who knows, I might catch three-of-a-kind… or two pair… or something really good!”
Every poker player has had this thought from time to time. Even the pros.
But the problem is, thinking like this will cause you to lose money in the long run. And the reason is because of the odds. Even though you might make a “great hand” once in every twenty flops, those other nineteen hands will cause you to lose MORE money than you won.
But here’s the thing:
The right odds calculator will show you exactly how strong or weak your starting hand is… based on a percentage and will show you the appropriate “Sklansky Starting Hand Group”. What this means is you will immediately know how good your hand is, as soon as the cards come out.
For example, at a 10-man table pocket Aces has a hand rank of 100% and is group 1. Pocket two’s has a hand rank of 63.3%, which is in GROUP 7. (This is for hands to the river.)
But let’s be honest… understanding how “good” those hands are is easy. You don’t need an odds calculator for that.
But let me ask you, which of these hands do you think has the highest “Hand Rank”?
a.) Queen-9 suited
b.) Ace-5 suited
c.) Jack-10 suited
d.) Ace-Queen offsuit
(Here’s a hint… the strongest hand is not options “b” or “d”…)
Give up? Are you surprised that A-Q wasn’t the strongest? Well, that’s just one of the ways an odds calculator can be incredibly useful… you’ll know the exact hand strength right away and can make a more educated (translation = more profitable) decision before the flop.
Know Your Chances of Hitting an Out
As you probably know, “outs” are cards that will help you improve your existing hand.
For example, let’s say you’re holding 5-6 and the flop comes out 3-4-Q. That means you need either a two or a seven to make a straight…
Since there are four two’s and four seven’s in the deck, you have eight outs.
Odds calculators will show you how many outs you have at any given time… and also give you the percentage chance you have of getting them. In addition, a really good odds calculator will “break it down” by each hand…
For example, in the scenario above with the straight draw, let’s say you also had a spade flush draw. That means you have more than eight outs, since one more spade will help you.
Premium odds calculators will show you the exact percentage chance you have of making the straight, the exact percentage chance of making the flush, and the total percentage for the two…
This is a huge time-saver for you. Online poker is fast-paced… and it’s not practical to sit there and do advanced calculations and long division while you’re trying to make a decision.
Play Your Position More Effectively
In Texas Holdem poker, positioning is everything. You want to play more hands with good positioning and fewer hands with bad positioning. It’s that simple.
The odds calculator I recommend allows you to adjust your starting hand settings depending on where you’re sitting at the table. For instance, if you’re on the button (the dealer position, which is the best position to be), the program will automatically set the “Hand Rank Requirement” to 50%…
…So if you pick up a hand that has a Hand Rank lower than 50%, it will recommend that you fold.
But if you’re under the gun (the player to the left of the big blind, which is the worst position to be), the program will automatically set the “Hand Rank Requirement” to 85%… so the software will make “tighter” recommendations while you’re in this position.
Now here’s the real beauty of this:
Improve Your Skills Quicker
Most poker players improve their skills over years of hard work, practice, and study. This is the slow and painful way.
Using an odds calculator accelerates the learning process dramatically. Here’s why:
As you’re playing online poker, the odds calculator will automatically compute the odds, hand strength, percentage chance on outs, and so on. You’ll use this information, make better decisions, and win more money.
Then here’s what will happen…
In a matter of months, you’ll find yourself “knowing” the odds and hand strength without looking at the software! It will become “natural” to you… because you’ll be seeing the same types of hands so frequently.
Of course, you’ll still want to use the odds software for the more advanced calculations.
But you’ll be amazed when you sit down at the poker table with your buddies, see the flop, and then blurt out:
“He has an 19% chance of making the flush on the river.”
Your friends will think you’re a poker genius! Because the truth is, learning the odds isn’t about learning the math… it’s about seeing and PLAYING with the numbers in front of you frequently enough.
This is how the pros do it… and this is how you can do it with the right tool.
Get Odds Based Recommendations
Ultimately, the point is to reach a conclusion about what you should do in a given situation, based on the odds.
You and I both know that “odds” are only a part of the game. They may be a big part, but they’re still just a part. There’s bluffing strategies, betting patterns, and many other factors that will affect your decisions…
Now let me show you the odds calculator that I use when I play online poker. It’s called “Texas Calculatem”. One of the great things is that it gives you “odds-based” recommendations…
In other words, it take the outs, percentages, ratios, number of players, starting hand strength, and everything else… compile it all together… and then spit out a “decision” about what you should do.
So while you’re playing online poker, this program will run near the bottom of your screen and say something like, “Check” or “Fold” or “Call Unraised Only” or “Raise and Re-Raise”… and so on.
And here’s another reason why I like Texas Calculatem so much:
Adjust Your Playing Style Automatically
Texas Calculatem lets you adjust your “style” according to your preferences and table strategy.
For instance, let’s say you’re playing a 10-player Sit and Go. Well, at the beginning you want to play extremely tight because you just want to SURVIVE as the other players start knocking themselves out (after all, Sit and Go’s pay out for the top three finishers, so there’s no need to risk many chips in the beginning).
So what I do is set the “Pre-Flop Slider” to a very tight setting.
But when you do play a hand in the early stages of a Sit and Go, you want to play it aggressively. Especially if it’s a really good hand like a high pocket pair. Because the reality is, there are a lot of “loose manics” at the Sit and Go’s who will call anything… so you want to increase your chip stack by taking advantage of them.
So in that situation, I set the “Post-Flop Slider” to a more aggressive setting.
You see, with Texas Calculatem you can adjust each of these settings without affecting the other. And you can adjust them mid-game or any time you want (I adjust mine back to more normal levels when it gets down to six players in the Sit and Go).
Of course, it’s the same way with Ring Games and other tournaments. In a four player ring game I like to play lots of starting hands and aggressively “bully” my opponents… so I adjust the sliders to the looser and more aggressive settings and “Bam!”… the program adjusts its computations automatically.
Texas Calculatem instantly adjusts all of the odds and recommendations based on how many players are at the table. In ring games people are constantly getting up, sitting out, coming in, etc… and in Sit and Go’s players are continuously being eliminated. All of this makes it confusing to figure out which hands to play and how to play them.
Calculatem adjusts everything automatically. You don’t have to input anything, either. It “detects” everything by itself.
Speaking of detection… that’s something else you need to be aware of:
Don’t Buy an Odds Calculator Without These Features
There are some key features that make an odds calculator a very effective tool. But ironically, most odds calculators don’t have these features!
For instance, most odds calculators make you “manually” type in what your cards are… what the flop cards are… and so on.
This makes no sense. After all, you can do the math faster than that!
Texas Calculatem was designed in a way that requires none of your time or effort. It automatically “attaches” to your poker game and detects your cards and the cards on the table (from the flop, turn, and river). You just sit back and focus on the game.
Obviously Texas Calculatem doesn’t read your opponents cards, though… since that information is completely secured by the casino. (That sure would make things easier, huh?)
Another great feature that Calculatem has is called “Fold Depth”. This basically uses “human logic” to make the odds computations more accurate. For instance, let’s say the flop came out 7-7-3 and two players folded.
Texas Calculatem “knows” that neither of those two players folded the seven. (Duh!)
The reason this is important is because it affects all of the advanced calculations from that point forward. Using the “human logic”, Texas Calculatem knows a more accurate percentage of where the other two sevens are… as well as all the other cards in the deck.
The result is a program that is far superior and more useful than any other on the market. In fact, I’ve really only “scratched the surface” of all the features that Texas Calculatem has… and all the ways it can help you win more money at online poker.
Honestly, the question isn’t whether or not you need an odds calculator…
The question is: How can you afford not to use one?
The cold hard truth is that many of your opponents will be using Texas Calculatem… which gives them the immediate advantage at the tables.
If you’re only going to play poker for “play money”, then I guess it’s OK. But if you’re playing for real money, then you need to download Texas Calculatem to your computer today. Without it, you’re just another fish.