Pot Odds


Positive/Negative Equity

Positive and Negative Equity are terms in Poker which relate to pot odds.

Positive equity is basically when you are being given a good price for your call eg the liklihood of you winning the pot is 40%, but the cost of calling the bet is only 30%

Negative equity is basically when you are getting poor value for the price of the call eg the liklihood of you winning the pot is 11%, but the cost of calling the bet is 33%

In poker, if you are able to spot correctly the positive and negative equity calls then you are at a distinct advantage.

Outside of poker, Negative equity is essentially how all bookmakers make money. They take an event where the actual likelihood of it occurring is say an estimated 20-1 chance. They then offer odds at a margin below this. eg they offer odds of 9-1. In a simple 2 possible outcome event they might offer 4-5 on one outcome (the favourite) and evens on the other, thus giving the book (as a whole) positive equity for them, but negative equity for the punter.

Flush Draws Moving along from Positive/Negative equity, lets take a look at it in action on a flush draw:-

A typical flush draw in holdem is 9 outs. (ie you have suited hole cards, and 2 cards of this same suit come on the flop, leaving 9 cards of that suit)

Now, you have a 35% chance of hitting one of your 9 outs if you are drawing from the flop. So, if someone bets the pot (which will be a cost of 33% for you to call), then you have positive equity for a call ('I have the pot odds to call') However, you only just have it. Therefore if the pot was say 3000 chips, and he went all in for his remaining 6000 chips, you should know immediately that this would be a negative equity call.

Once the turn comes, this changes. Your chance of hitting one of 9 cards is now only 19.6% (because only river to come). Therefore any bet in the region of the size of the pot should instantly ring alarm bells (to call a pot size bet is 33%). If you call here for this amount you are getting massive negative equity. If the person above had checked the flop, and then launched his 6000 chips in on the turn, then obviously I do not need to state how bad a decision this would be to call. (Just to ram it home, it is a 40% cost for a 19.6% chance of winning).

Open Ended Straight Draw
An standard open ended straight draw would be 8 outs

From the flop (2 cards to come) the odds are 31.5%
From the turn (only 1 card to come) the odds are 17.4%

So from the flop the bet would definately have to be less than the size of the pot in order to have positive equity for a call (if he bets pot, it is 33% for you to call)

And from the turn it would have to be a low bet to justify it eg If pot is 500, and he bets 100, then it costs you 14.3% to call and thus you have postive equity (lower call cost than the 17.4%)

Open Ended Straight-Flush Draw
A standard open ended straight-flush draw would be 15 outs

From the flop (2 cards to come) the odds are 54.1%
From the turn (only 1 card to come) the odds are 32.6%

So from the flop you always have positive equity for any call

And from the turn it would have to be a bet of below the pot size to justify the call (bet pot would cost you 33%)

Inside Straight Draw
Otherwise known as a Gutshot

A standard Gutshot has 4 outs.

From the flop (2 cards to come) there is a 16.5% chance of hitting it.
From the turn (1 card to come) there is a 8.7% chance of hitting it.

To put this in perspective :- If the pot is 500, and he bets 100, then it costs you 14.3% to call (ie you could call this amount from the flop) If the pot is 500, and he bets only 60 chips, then it costs you 9.7% to call. (Even for such a low amount from the turn you still get negative equity as there is only a 8.7% chance of hitting your out)

You can find some Pot Odds Charts here :- Pot Odds Charts


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